June 14. 2018 12:16AM

Accused Farmington double murderer appears in court, judge closes hearing to public

By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent


Timothy Verrill is escorted into Strafford County Superior Court Wednesday in Dover. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

DOVER — A local man accused of stabbing two women to death in Farmington last year was at Strafford County Superior Court Wednesday morning for a hearing on a motion to have evidence suppressed.

Timothy Verrill, 36, of Dover, allegedly killed 48-year-old Christine Sullivan and 32-year-old Jenna Pellegrini inside 979 Meaderboro Road on Jan. 27, 2017.

Prosecutors say Sullivan and Pellegrini’s bodies were left under a porch wrapped in tarps. They allege Verrill fractured Sullivan’s skull and stabbed her in the heart, neck and lungs.

Pellegrini was stabbed in the neck, torso and back a total of 43 times, according to New Hampshire State Police.

Verrill has been held in jail since his arrest Feb. 6, 2017, in Lawrence, Mass., while seeking treatment at a medical facility. He was brought back to New Hampshire where he waived his right to arraignment after pleading not guilty to the murders Feb. 8.

On Wednesday, Verrill appeared in court in an orange jumpsuit and shackles. State Police Sgt. Brian Strong, who was part of a search at the scene of the murders, waited outside the courtroom to testify at the hearing.

Before getting into any substantive matters, Judge Steven Houran closed the hearing to the public. The motion to be argued before the court was placed under seal, he said.

Pellegrini’s father, Michael, was at the hearing. He was allowed to stay and listen to testimony.

According to Verrill’s court file, most of the documents in his case have been filed under seal, including arrest warrants, affidavits for arrest warrants, motions for services other than counsel and his public defender’s motion to suppress evidence.

It is not clear what portions of Houran’s order after the hearing will be made public, if any.

Meanwhile, Sullivan’s boyfriend, Dean Smoronk, is back in Farmington. He was released from Pamunkey Regional Jail in Virginia on April 10 and had been living at his Cape Coral home in Florida.

Smoronk was serving time on drug charges related to a traffic stop that took place last June. He was charged with manufacturing and distributing drugs after Virginia State Police discovered evidence he was selling steroids.

Smoronk said he returned to the home where Sullivan was murdered on June 1. He said he learned about Wednesday’s hearing too late to try to attend.

“To me, the case against Tim should be bullet proof,” Smoronk said.

Prosecutors say Smoronk, Sullivan and Verrill were selling drugs together before the double murders.

The final pre-trial conference for Verrill is scheduled for Sept. 20 and jury selection begins Oct. 22. A jury visit to the crime scene and opening statements are scheduled for Nov. 1.