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Defense in Mazzaglia trial paints witness as 'manipulative'
Kathryn 'Kat' McDonough, 20, is escorted into the courtroom during her fourth day of testimony in the Seth Mazzaglia murder trial. (David Lane/Union Leader)
“Were you being manipulative?” Barth asked McDonough, former live-in girlfriend of accused murderer Seth Mazzaglia, who is on trial in Strafford County Superior Court.
Mazzaglia, 31, faces first- and second-degree murder charges in the Oct. 9, 2012, death of Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, a 19-year-old University of New Hampshire student from Westborough, Mass. According to testimony, she died after a game of strip poker in the Sawyer Mills studio apartment that Mazzaglia and McDonough shared.
In her fourth day on the stand, McDonough, 20, testified at length about the dynamics of love, control and submission during her time with Mazzaglia. She also spoke about “years and years of being verbally and emotionally abused” by her father when she was a child, while acknowledging times when she exaggerated claims of physical abuse in conversations with Mazzaglia and others.
“I was trying to make it more believable,” McDonough acknowledged Friday. “I lied a lot throughout that entire conversation.”
“I may have said that to him, but I do not recall whether that did or did not happen in my life,” McDonough replied.
“My disposition toward him slowly started to change,” she said.
“I had a lot of time to think when I was out on bail,” McDonough continued. “I had learned a lot about what an abusive relationship looked like, what Stockholm syndrome looked like… what an unhealthy relationship looked like.”
Barth’s questioning Friday also focused on the psychological aspects of McDonough’s relationship with Mazzaglia. McDonough testified extensively this week about how both of them had a history of adopting multiple personas and how they often engaged in violent sex involving bondage, restraints and choking.
“He wanted to take over the world,” McDonough said. “He needed an army of people who would do anything he asked them to do… . He wanted to do something big.”
“I’m one person. One mind,” she said.
“The thing I wanted to come in here and tell the truth about, so everyone would know, was the murder of Lizzi,” she said.
McDonough’s lawyer, Hampton attorney Andrew Cotrupi, appeared upbeat after Friday’s proceedings concluded.
Judge Steven Houran reiterated his instructions late Friday to the non-sequestered jury group of nine women and seven men, reminding them to avoid all media and outside information about the trial over the weekend.
The prosecution has submitted a list of more than 40 potential witnesses to the court. Rochester resident Roberta Gerkin, former Mazzaglia cellmate Ryan Bachman and McDonough took the stand this week. The defense has yet to begin its case and has seven potential witnesses on its list, including Portsmouth resident Heather Mazzaglia, Seth Mazzaglia’s mother.
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