Murder suspect Seth Mazzaglia, 30, appeared in Strafford County Superior Court on Wednesday for a preliminary pre-trial conference. Mazzaglia is suspected of strangling and/or suffocating University of New Hampshire sophomore Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, 19, in his apartment on Oct. 9. (Gretyl Macalaster photo)
Trial of man charged with strangling UNH sophmore may still be a year away
DOVER - The attorneys for murder suspect Seth Mazzaglia, 30, of Dover are ready to take their case to trial in January, but a full plate for the New Hampshire Attorney General's office has prosecutors seeking a trial date in June 2014.
Both sides were in Strafford County Superior Court on Tuesday for a preliminary pre-trial conference in the murder case against Mazzaglia to try and set a schedule for trial.
In April, a grand jury indicted Mazzaglia on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder, alleging he strangled and/or suffocated Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, 19, in his apartment on Oct. 9 before, during or after committing felonious sexual assault. He is facing a fourth count of hindering apprehension and/or prosecution.
He claims to have dumped the University of New Hampshire sophomore's body in the waters off the Piscataqua River later that night. Months of searching have failed to recover Marriott's body.
Mazzaglia's girlfriend, Kathryn "Kat" McDonough, 19, of Portsmouth also is facing charges of hindering apprehension and/or prosecution and tampering with a witness out of Rockingham County.
In court on Wednesday in an orange jumpsuit, Mazzaglia did not speak during the short hearing, and turned around only once to see who was in the courtroom.
The two sides are due back in court on July 31 to further set the trial schedule.
When asked after the hearing if they were concerned about their client's right to a speedy trial, defense attorney Joachim Barth said "no, we just want to try this case."
Prosecuting attorney Peter Hinckley with the attorney general's office said their concern is conflicts with other already scheduled murder trials, of which he said there are five.
After the hearing he said he had one trial in January in the northern part of the state that directly conflicts with the defense's proposed date, but could not speak for co-prosecuting attorney Geoff Ward.
"We just have some issues in terms of we have other cases we need to try, that are already scheduled for trial, murder cases as well," Hinckley said.
He said it is also not a matter of the state attorney general's office being stretched too thin.
"No, it's not a matter of being stretched too thin, it's a matter of other cases being scheduled," Hinckley said.
Judge John Lewis did agree to a number of deadlines laid out in the state's proposed schedule that were also amenable to the defense.
Hinckley told the court they have turned over most discovery to the defense already, but there is still some forensic testing they do not have access to.
He would not clarify what forensic testing they are waiting on when asked after the hearing.
Both sides anticipate jury selection taking about one week and the trial about a week and a half once it begins.