Melissa Marriott said Thursday that while "22 months is a long time to remain silent," her family chose to do so in order not to hinder the prosecution of Seth Mazzaglia.
She and the Marriott family broke that silence in a media room filled with television cameras, after Judge Steven Houran gave Mazzaglia maximum sentences on all charges related to the murder of Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott and the attempted cover-up that followed.
“We will never get Lizzi back and we will miss her for the rest of our days, but knowing he will never be able to do this to another young woman is of some consolation,” Melissa Marriott said.
She spoke specifically to Roberta Gerkin and Paul Hickock, two Rochester residents whom Mazzaglia’s former girlfriend, Kathryn McDonough, called to the Dover apartment Mazzaglia and McDonough shared after Mazzaglia had strangled Marriott and raped her limp body on the night of Oct. 9, 2012.
Gerkin was a friend of Mazzaglia’s; Hickok is Gerkin’s boyfriend. Both testified during the trial that they saw Marriott’s body lying on the floor of the apartment that night, but shortly afterward left and went back home without calling police or for an ambulance, because, they said, they trusted Mazzaglia to do so himself.
“How could you possibly believe that the perpetrator and co-conspirator of Lizzi’s murder would do the right thing and call 911?” Melissa Marriott asked Thursday. “It’s my humble opinion that neither of you were brave enough to call because neither of you were willing to get involved.”
Marriott said that “lack of compassion and action” had dire results for her family, regardless of whether Lizzi Marriott was beyond medical help when Gerkin and Hickok saw her. Mazzaglia and McDonough threw Lizzi’s body into swift-moving waters off Peirce Island in Portsmouth that night. Her body has never been found.
“If either one of you had decided to be brave and compassionate, we would have gotten Lizzi’s body back so we could have had a proper funeral and burial,” Melissa Marriott said. “After all the other horrible acts that were perpetrated on Lizzi, your decision allowed the perpetrators one final horrendous act, throwing my baby’s body into the river.”
She and other members of the Marriott family criticized the media Thursday as well. In the days immediately following Lizzi Marriott’s death, McDonough told public defenders in a recorded interview in their Dover office that Lizzi died during rough sexual play involving bondage. McDonough later changed her story when speaking to a grand jury and in court after reaching a plea deal — she is serving time for hindering prosecution — but the initial story played a significant role in the trial and media coverage.
“It was nice to be able to say that was not our Lizzi,” Melissa Marriott said Thursday. “That was all lies.”