DOVER – Jurors had the opportunity on Friday to view the home where Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini were brutally murdered in Farmington close to two years ago.
The white house with green shutters at 979 Meaderboro Road belongs to Sullivan’s boyfriend, Dean Smoronk, and is where Timothy Verrill, 37, of Dover, allegedly stabbed the two women to death on Jan. 27, 2017.
Members of the jury, eight women and eight men, were not allowed inside the house where the killings occurred.
“We will not be entering the premises. It is condemned and it is hazardous,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley told them before boarding the bus at Strafford County Superior Court in Dover.
Public Defender Meredith Lugo asked jurors to note the length of the driveway and number of doors, as well as the differences between the two porches on either side of the house so they could recall that information when looking at photos that will be submitted into evidence.
“One of the things you will see in photos is that back in 2017, at the time of the murders, there were a number of surveillance cameras,” Lugo told them.
Verrill, who is charged with both first and second degree murder for his alleged involvement in the deaths of Sullivan and Pellegrini, as well as five charges of falsification of physical evidence for hiding the bodies and other evidence after the commission of the crimes, towered over his attorneys as he listened to what was being said during the view.
Lugo and fellow public defender Julia Nye claim that Verrill is known as a ‘gentle giant.’ They plan to argue that Verrill did not commit the crimes and point the finger at Smoronk, who they say had the motive and connections to hire someone to kill Sullivan.
Smoronk is being held at a state jail on federal drug charges and the prosecution alleges he, Verrill and Sullivan were part of a drug distribution ring. That involvement is what motivated Verrill to kill Sullivan, prosecutors say.
Barry Hildreth, of Rochester, went to the view as a member of the public. He did not know Sullivan, 48, of Farmington, or Pellegrini, 32, of Barrington, but he did know Joshua Colwell, who he says was with Verrill before and after the murders.
Hildreth says he believes Sullivan was killed over money.
“Timmy and Josh sat at Holy Rosary the night it happened at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and knew that she had an exorbitant amount of cash on her. I want to say $18,000,” Hildreth said.
Hildreth said he looks forward to seeing what Colwell says when he is put on the witness stand.
“He holds the key to this. He knows what really happened,” Hildreth said.
Hildreth said he met Smoronk after Sullivan and Pellegrini were killed and became friends with him. Hildreth has no reason to believe Smoronk ordered the murder of his girlfriend.
Hildreth said the double murders have changed his life. He and his fiancé hope that watching the trial will provide them with some answers.
“I feel terrible for the two women who were murdered over, at best, drugs and money,” Hildreth said.
Verrill’s trial resumes on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. with opening statements.