DOVER — Prosecutors used video surveillance images to attempt to show Timothy Verrill was the only other person at a Farmington house on the night two women were brutally killed during his double murder trial Wednesday at Strafford County Superior Court.
Verrill, 37, of Dover, is accused of stabbing and using blunt force to kill Christine Sullivan, 48, of Farmington, and Jenna Pellegrini, 32, of Barrington, at 979 Meaderboro Road on Jan. 27, 2017.
On Wednesday, Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley called Brian Carney, president of WIN Interactive, to the witness stand to go through 15 video clips he was asked to put into a presentation for the state in preparation for trial. The clips showed homeowner Dean Smoronk leaving on Jan. 25 at about 3:50 a.m. for Logan Airport with Sullivan. Smoronk was heading to Florida to check on a rental property in Cape Coral.
On Jan. 25 at about 8 p.m., Sullivan and Pellegrini can be seen entering the Farmington house with various items. Pellegrini was staying with Sullivan while Smoronk was away.
The two women are again seen on video on Jan. 26 at about 10 p.m. Verrill is seen pulling up about an hour later, entering the house while wearing a white trucker hat.
Verrill is then seen going into and out of the house, at one point talking to Sullivan outside while shifting body weight from leg to leg.
Verrill, Sullivan and Pellegrini are all spotted together after video surveillance catches Pellegrini doing laundry around 5:49 a.m. Then Pellegrini is last seen alive doing laundry at 6:40 a.m.
Verrill watched the video presentation with his left leg crossed over the right at his ankles, showing no emotion. Pellegrini’s family members cried when they saw her on video surveillance calmly performing the chore of doing her laundry. During cross examination, Julia Nye, Verrill’s public defender, asked Carney about what he was asked to produce for the state from the surveillance systems.
“We were told certain video clips to pull from a list of different video clips saying, ‘Can you get these videos so we can essentially screen grab each of the video clips and from there develop a PowerPoint?’” Carney explained.
Nye and Public Defender Meredith Lugo tried to stop Carney’s testimony, according to court records, arguing that he is experienced with developing demonstrative evidence for the courtroom and his promotional literature states, “even evidence that is inherently visual can be enhanced by making it even more visually persuasive.”
Carney, who is an attorney according to his website, told Nye he works for both prosecution and defense teams and he had no personal knowledge about the case, or the people depicted on the video surveillance. Jurors also heard from police officer Evan Carey, who was working as a patrol officer in Farmington on Jan. 29, when Smoronk called police to report a “past tense homicide.”
When Carney arrived, Smoronk was there with friend Steve Clough.
Carney, one of three Farmington police officers called to the scene, said he went into the second bedroom where Pellegrini was killed and noticed blood on the bed with a bathroom mat partially covering it.
Carney noted that in the bedroom and inside the cylinder of a clear vacuum he noticed a blue string-like substance. Lugo asked Carney on cross examination about Smoronk’s answers to preliminary questions.
“Very early on, Mr. Smoronk named the name of Timothy Verrill, right? And told you he believed Mr. Verrill had done something?” Lugo asked.
“Yes,” Carney said.
Carney said both Smoronk and Clough were transported to the police department for further questioning.
Nye and Lugo claim that Smoronk was the one with the motive and connections to hire someone to kill Sullivan because he wanted to expand his drug-dealing business and was courting a local motorcycle gang called the Mountain Men to help increase distribution in New Hampshire. They say Verrill is a fall guy who Smoronk no longer favored.
Prosecutors say Verrill was part of the drug ring and was becoming increasingly paranoid and distracted due to drug overuse in the weeks leading up to the killings. They have the video surveillance shown to jurors on Wednesday as well as Verrill’s fingerprints located at the scene of the crime on key items.
Prosecutors also have video evidence that they say show that Verrill purchased materials to clean up after the murders and evidence of him having possession of those materials.
Verrill is facing two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and five counts of falsifying physical evidence. If he is convicted of first-degree murder, it is mandatory under state law that he will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.