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Judge to decide if Farmington murder suspect can be held without bail

Union Leader Correspondent

September 06. 2017 10:20PM
Timothy Verrill, of Dover, is accused of killing two women in Farmington. His bail hearing concluded Wednesday at Strafford County Superior Court. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Correspondent)

DOVER — A judge will decide whether the state can continue to hold the man they say killed two women in Farmington without bail.

Prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office claim Timothy Verrill, 35, stabbed Christine Sullivan, 48, and Jenna Pellegrini, 32, to death inside 979 Meaderboro Road on Jan. 27. Their bodies were found beneath a tarp outside the home on Jan. 29.

Dean Smoronk, owner of the house and Sullivan’s boyfriend, called Farmington police to report Sullivan missing and was concerned something had happened to her, when he returned home from checking on his rental property in Cape Coral, Fla. That was at 3:32 a.m. Jan. 29, according to state police Sgt. Brian Strong.

On Wednesday, Strong continued his testimony in a bail hearing that began on Aug. 8. He said in the days after the double homicide Verrill switched the license plates on his girlfriend’s Honda Civic, swapping them out for plates from Massachusetts. A search of the vehicle turned up eight ecstasy pills, a multi-colored flannel shirt with green spackling on it and an unidentified stain, a white mesh baseball cap and a receipt from the Plaistow Kohls dated Jan. 29, Strong said.

Strong said when police caught up with Verrill, he had fresh injuries on his hand.

Strong said police spoke with Verrill’s brother, Jeff Verrill, and learned family members had to bring Verrill to Exeter Hospital on Feb. 2 because he was concerned he would hurt himself.

While checking in, Verrill told hospital staff the hand injuries were from a cat and his girlfriend. Assistant Attorney General Jane Young pointed out Verrill had told friends those same wounds were from a dog bite.

Strong said police investigating the scene found Verrill’s fingerprints and palm prints on plastic bags that contained items with Sullivan’s and Pellegrini’s DNA inside them. One of those bags also had Pellegrini’s purse inside it. Police arrested Verrill in Lawrence, Mass., on Feb. 6 while he was seeking treatment at a medical facility.

On cross examination, public defender Melissa Davis asked Strong what Joshua Colwell and Ian Bates told police about Verrill’s activities in the days after the deaths. Bates was uncooperative with police and would not corroborate Colwell’s statements about what Verrill allegedly did and said in their presence, including asking for pants, drinking whiskey and saying something to the effect of “two birds, one stone.”

Davis also asked more questions about Smoronk’s whereabouts at the time of Sullivan and Pellegrini’s murders.

At the end of the hearing Wednesday, Young said the state had met its burden of providing enough proof to hold Verrill without bail. Davis argued the state is relying on “conflicting or highly circumstantial evidence” and asked judge Steven Houran to grant bail on this matter. Houran said he plans to review the evidence presented and issue an order next week.

Michael Pellegrini, Jenna Pellegrini’s father, was at the hearing with family members, said he is happy they will find out the judge’s decision soon.

Courts Crime Farmington


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