Legal schedule unclear for Marriott defendant Kathryn McDonough
DOVER - As of Friday afternoon, the attorney for a woman charged in connection with the murder of a University of New Hampshire sophomore did not know whether they would go forward with a probable cause hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
Attorney Ryan Russman of Exeter said the state is "holding their cards very close to their vest," so it was hard for him to make a decision on his next move.
His client, Kathryn "Kat" McDonough, 19, of Portsmouth was arrested on Christmas Eve and charged with felony counts of hindering apprehension or prosecution and conspiracy to commit hindering apprehension or prosecution.
Police allege that McDonough and her boyfriend, Seth Mazzaglia, 30, of 1 Mill Street in Dover, both gave police false alibis for their whereabouts and their interactions with 19-year-old Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott on Oct. 9, the last day Marriott was seen alive.
Mazzaglia was charged with second-degree murder Oct. 13 for allegedly strangling and/or suffocating Marriott in his apartment on the night of Oct. 9.
Police have spent more than two months searching for her body in the waters off of Peirce Island in Portsmouth based on "credible information," but have turned up nothing.
Russman said he is not sure why the state waited so long to arrest his client and thinks it is a tactical move.
"These guys have had plenty of time to make a decision ... as I said at the hearing, I think it's a 'tactical move' to apply pressure to Ms. McDonough," Russman said, an accusation the state immediately denied in court.
Documents related to McDonough's arrest were placed under seal by a Derry District Court judge, following her arraignment Dec. 26, even to her defense attorneys.
"So I don't even have access to the foundation for why they had probable cause to arrest Kat," Russman said. "The only thing I have in my possession at this point is copies of the complaint."
Details in the complaint are limited to the fact that in interviews with police in Newington on Oct. 12 both Mazzaglia and McDonough allegedly gave false alibis to police.
"So it's difficult as a defense lawyer to make decisions about what your strategy or tactics would be without being armed with information," Russman said.
Russman, who was hired Christmas Day, said he learned that McDonough had been subpoenaed to a grand jury proceeding as recently as mid-December, which she appeared at and was dismissed from.
Russman said he is unsure what the December grand jury hearing was about and is unfamiliar with the case against Mazzaglia. In mid-December, the state filed a motion in Strafford County Superior Court, seeking an extension to the end of February, to seek indictment against Mazzaglia on the murder charge filed against him.
McDonough's probable cause hearing is scheduled for Portsmouth Circuit Court at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.