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Defense questions motives of Mazzaglia's ex-girlfriend

Union Leader Correspondent

June 05. 2014 8:27PM
Strafford County Superior Court in Dover, N.H. (Thursday, June 5, 2014)Dover, N.H. - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - Defense attorney Joachim Barth questions Kathryn McDonough at Strafford Superior Court in Dover, N.H. Thursday about text message conversations she had with accused murder defendant Seth Mazzaglia who is accused of killing University of New Hampshire student Elizabeth (Lizzi) Marriott in his Dover N.H. apartment on Oct. 9, 2012. (AP Photo, Foster's Daily Democrat, John Huff, POOL) 

DOVER — The defense for accused murderer Seth Mazzaglia began its cross-examination of Kathryn “Kat” McDonough, Mazzaglia’s former live-in girlfriend, Thursday by attacking her credibility on multiple fronts.

“Were you affected on the night of Oct. 9, 2012, when Lizzi Marriott was in your apartment, by voices and characters in your mind?” defense attorney Joachim Barth asked McDonough.

“No,” she replied.

Barth then cited transcripts of a November 2012 conversation McDonough had with Roberta Gerkin, a former psychic and friend of Mazzaglia’s. Barth said McDonough told Gerkin a “spirit” was “leading” her and struggling for control of her body.

McDonough said she never truly believed that statement to Gerkin and meant instead that the spirit had since been “blocking her memory of what happened that night.”

Mazzaglia, 31, faces first- and second-degree murder charges in the death of UNH student Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, 19, after a game of strip poker in the Dover apartment that Mazzaglia and McDonough shared.

Barth reminded McDonough, 20, that they had met at his office just days after Mazzaglia was arrested for murder on Oct. 13, 2012.

Barth said during that meeting, McDonough told him Marriott died at least partially of natural causes after participating in sexual acts with her and Mazzaglia.

“You described that she had a seizure, and subsequently died,” Barth said. “You have since changed that story, is that right?”

When McDonough agreed, Barth noted that the changes to McDonough’s version of events that night came while McDonough was engaged in pursuing an immunity agreement that would reduce her years in prison and prevent her from facing any other related charges.

“It was during that process that you changed your story to blame Seth Mazzaglia for the cause of death,” Barth said.

McDonough is serving a 1½- to three-year prison term after pleading guilty to charges including witness tampering and hindering the investigation. She has testified that she helped cover up the murder of Marriott.

McDonough testified earlier this week about personas she has adopted since childhood — with names including Violet, Charlotte, Skar and others — initially to deal with shyness and domestic troubles. She also has testified that Mazzaglia routinely used numerous personas. Mazzaglia referred to himself with names including Cyrus, Doomsday and more in Facebook posts displayed by Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley.

Barth repeatedly asked McDonough on Thursday about “the multiple voices and characters in (her) head.” He spent most of the afternoon examining details from McDonough’s conversations in 2011 and 2012 with Mazzaglia and others, on Facebook and other social media.

The couple had a history of frequent consensual sex acts involving bondage, dominance and submission, among themselves and friends, according to McDonough’s previous testimony.

In the trial’s opening statements May 28, Barth told jurors it was McDonough, not Mazzaglia, who killed Marriott that night.

On Wednesday, Hinckley asked McDonough if she killed Marriott, if Marriott died “accidentally or any other way,” or “in any sort of sexual activity in which she was a willing participant.” McDonough said “no” to all three.

The trial resumes today at 10 a.m.

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