State prosecutor Geoffrey Ward points to Seth Mazzaglia during closing arguments in his murder trial last month in Strafford County Superior in Dover. Mazzaglia was found guilty of murdering University of New Hampshire student Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott. AP Photo/Jim Cole
NH state prosecutor: Mazzaglia's friends 'did nothing criminal'
Mazzaglia, 31, was convicted June 27 of murdering Marriott on Oct. 9, 2012, in the Dover apartment he shared with his former girlfriend, Kathryn McDonough.
Gerkin testified June 2 that Mazzaglia assured her that night that he would call for help, and she believed him.
Hickok also said, in testimony June 18, that he and Gerkin, before leaving the apartment, urged Mazzaglia to call for help.
"The biggest reason that we didn't do anything was to give (Mazzaglia) the opportunity to do it himself," Hickok said on the stand.
Michael Ramsdell, former head of the homicide unit in the state Attorney General's Office and now a criminal defense and business litigation lawyer in private practice, said Friday that, except for certain exceptions, "you don't have the duty to report a crime if you believe one has been committed."
"Unless there's a special duty . there is no legal obligation to report a crime," Ramsdell said.
Scherr said he's taught at the UNH law school for 20 years and, prior to that, was a public defender in New Hampshire for 13 years. He said that from what he read of Mazzaglia's trial, it didn't sound like Gerkin or Hickok took any active measures to assist Mazzaglia or mislead police.
He cited another point surrounding Mazzaglia's conviction.
"I think the thing that sticks in my mind about the trial is what a very attractive plea bargain (Kathryn) McDonough got," Scherr said.McDonough is serving a 1½- to three-year prison term after pleading guilty in July 2013 to charges that included witness tampering and hindering the investigation, as part of a plea agreement. She testified that she helped cover up Mazzaglia's murder and rape of Marriott."Given her role in what happened . her lawyer negotiated a very, very favorable plea bargain for her," Scherr said.
"I know many people think Kathryn McDonough got too good a deal, but she is a felon, has gone to prison and will live with her share of the responsibility for what happened to Lizzi Marriott for the rest of her life," Cotrupi said.
After a trial that spanned nearly all of June, a jury found Mazzaglia guilty of two charges of first-degree murder, one for purposely strangling Marriott and the other for committing an act of violent sexual assault on her body before, after or while killing her.