UPDATE: Girlfriend of Dover murder suspect indicted for hindering investigation
The girlfriend of murder suspect Seth Mazzaglia has been indicted on three charges for allegedly thwarting the investigation into the killing of Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott.
Katherine McDonough, 19, of 314 McKinley Road in Portsmouth, was indicted on charges of witness tampering, hindering apprehension and conspiracy to commit hindering apprehension.
The charges were made public Wednesday afternoon, just days after a grand jury in Rockingham County returned the indictments. Prosecutors first arrested McDonough on Christmas Eve on two counts of hindering apprehension for allegedly lying to investigators regarding her whereabouts and interactions with Marriott Oct. 9.
Marriott, a University of New Hampshire sophomore, was murdered that same day in the Dover apartment that McDonough and Mazzaglia lived in on Mill Street.
The charge of witness-tampering alleges McDonough encouraged a woman named Roberta Gerkin on Nov. 7 to tell investigators that she did not enter the Dover apartment on the night of the murder. She had that conversation with Gerkin at an undisclosed location in Portsmouth.
Defense lawyer Andrew Cotrupi said the indictments come as no surprise to McDonough, and that he and his client will "work hard" to minimize the pain during the legal process set off by the indictments.
"I think this is going to be a very long and very painful experience for everyone involved and she hopes to minimize any future difficulty or harm on the Marriott family," Cotrupi said on Wednesday.
Mazzaglia, 30, of Dover has been charged with second-degree murder in Strafford County for killing Marriott by either strangling or suffocating her, according to prosecutors. He is being held without bail at the Strafford County jail in Dover on the murder charge, but has not been indicted. A grand jury in Dover is expected to convene on April 18, and prosecutors have filed no new motions in public to extend their deadline to seek an indictment, according to courthouse staff.
McDonough allegedly agreed with Mazzaglia on Oct. 12 to give state police a false alibi, according to an indictment. Those statements were given to investigators somewhere in Newington. Marriott's disappearance set off a massive search on land and water by her family, friends and several law enforcement agencies. Her body has not yet been found.
The UNH sophomore was last seen leaving one of her classes on the Durham campus. She lived with an aunt and uncle in Chester, and told her family that she planned to visit friends in Dover and would return later in the night. For several days, investigators focused their search on the waters of the Piscataqua River near Pierce Island in Portsmouth.
George Thompson, a lawyer representing the victim's family, said in a statement that Marriott and McDonough met when they both worked at a local Target store, and "that the betrayal of that friendship contributed to Lizzi's death and the disappearance of her body."
He said the Marriott family hopes the state Attorney General's Office is able to press more charges against McDonough, "that carry a more significant criminal sanction than those contained in the current indictment(s)."
"It is the family's opinion that Ms. McDonough, or any other individuals who are ultimately found to be involved with Lizzi's homicide or the conspiracy to frustrate the investigation of the homicide, bear both a moral and legal responsibility for Lizzi's death as well as the family's ongoing anguish over their inability to provide their daughter with a proper burial," Thompson said.
McDonough is currently free on $35,000 bail. She is charged with three Class B felonies, each punishable by up to 3 1/2 to seven years in state prison.
New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent Gretyl Macalaster contributed to this report.