Prosecutor probes for holes in Mazzaglia defense investigator's interviews of McDonough
DOVER – A prosecutor in the trial of accused murderer Seth Mazzaglia worked aggressively Monday morning to punch holes in interviews conducted by a former investigator for the state public defender’s office in October 2012, just days after the death of UNH student Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott.
Prosecutor Peter Hinckley repeatedly asked Lisa Greenwaldt, now a case coordinator for the N.H. Public Defender’s office, why she failed to record in audio or video an Oct. 15, 2012, interview with Kathryn “Kat” McDonough, Mazzaglia’s former live-in girlfriend, following Marriott’s death Oct. 9.
“I wish I had recorded our first interview, I really do,” Greenwaldt acknowledged.
Hinckley noted that in a report about the unrecorded interview that Greenwaldt prepared in March 2014, in anticipation of Mazzaglia’s trial, Greenwaldt described McDonough’s demeanor on Oct. 15, 2012, as “poised, calm, very descriptive and reflective.”
Hinckley then pointed out that Greenwaldt made no characterizations about McDonough’s demeanor in a report she wrote in October 2012, other than to say that McDonough was “very reluctant” to talk about the role of two Rochester residents who saw Marriott’s body in Mazzaglia and McDonough’s Dover apartment on the night of Oct. 9.
Greenwaldt responded flatly when Hinckley asked about the reliability of her memory when writing the report in March, 18 months after the interview.
“I will never forget (McDonough’s) demeanor,” Greenwaldt said.
Greenwaldt also said that McDonough returned to the Public Defender’s Dover office on Oct. 17, 2012, to review her statements from Oct. 15 and to give an interview and narrative that were recorded on video. Mazzaglia’s public defenders played a portion of that video earlier in his trial.
In the video, McDonough graphically described rough sexual contact – standing up at one point to demonstrate a straddling position – between her, Mazzaglia and Marriott on the night of Oct. 9, and said that contact led to Marriott suffocating and having a seizure.
Under initial questioning by defense attorney Joachim Barth, Greenwaldt said Monday that her March 2014 report about the unrecorded interview is “a factual representation of what she told us regarding what happened that night.”
Greenwaldt said prior to her current role, she worked as an investigator for the state public defender’s office for more than 10 years. She said she was assigned to Mazzaglia’s case on Oct. 13, 2012.
While going through Greenwaldt’s notes from the Oct. 15, 2012, interview, Hinckley also cited several gaps between topics.
He noted, for example, that Greenwaldt had not recorded in her handwritten notes on lined paper which question led McDonough to shift from talking about her brothers in high school to admitting – contrary to her initial statements to law enforcement – that she had been with Mazzaglia for the entire evening of Oct. 9.
Greenwaldt acknowledged that she didn’t write down how that transition occurred.
“I can’t apologize enough for not having that,” Greenwaldt said.
Mazzaglia, 31, faces first- and second-degree murder charges in the death of Marriott, a 19-year-old from Westborough, Mass. Mazzaglia’s trial began with opening statements May 28. The prosecution brought 30 witnesses to the stand during 17 days of testimony that included nearly 10 full days on the stand by McDonough.
The prosecution rested its case Thursday afternoon. The trial resumed Monday in Strafford County Superior Court, after a long weekend. Greenwaldt was the first witness for Mazzaglia’s public defense.
Prosecutors allege that Mazzaglia strangled Marriott to death with a white cotton rope after she rebuffed his sexual advances following a game of strip poker in the Dover apartment that Mazzaglia and McDonough shared.
Defense attorneys have accused McDonough of killing Marriott that night during rough sex that led to suffocation and a seizure.
McDonough testified that after Mazzaglia strangled Marriott, she helped Mazzaglia pack Marriott’s body into a suitcase and drive Marriott’s car to Peirce Island in Portsmouth, where McDonough said they pushed Marriott’s body into waters known for their strong currents.
McDonough is serving a 1½- to three-year prison term after pleading guilty last July to charges that included witness tampering and hindering the investigation, as part of a plea agreement. She has testified that she helped cover up the murder and rape of Marriott, whose body has never been found.
The trial continues this afternoon.