New Hampshire murderer pleads guilty in escape plot

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 31, 2014 6:01 PM

By Ted Siefer

MANCHESTER N.H. (Reuters) - A New Hampshire man convicted of sexually assaulting and killing a college student pleaded guilty on Friday to an additional charge of plotting to escape from jail prior to his trial.

Seth Mazzaglia, 32, is already serving life in prison without parole for the Oct. 9, 2012, murder of Elizabeth Marriott, then a 19-year-old student at the University of New Hampshire.

State prosecutors charged that Mazzaglia recruited a cellmate two months after he was arrested in connection with the murder and gave him a "detailed plan and directives" for a jail break.

During his trial earlier this year, the former cellmate testified that Mazzaglia's plan entailed getting disguises, two cars and a gun.

Mazzaglia also allegedly wanted to hire a hit man to kill or injure two witnesses and flee the country with his girlfriend.

The former cellmate testified that he instead used about $1,800 from Mazzaglia's bank account to buy drugs.

Mazzaglia's guilty plea avoids a trial for the charge of felony criminal solicitation that was to begin next week. The sentence of up to 7-1/2 years is to be added to Mazzaglia's life sentence for first-degree murder.

Mazzaglia was accused of strangling Marriott after she was lured to his apartment as a sex offering by his then-girlfriend, Kathryn McDonough, who would later become the state's star witness.

During a trial replete with details of the couple's fantasy life and sexual fetishes, McDonough testified that Mazzaglia killed Marriott after she rejected his sexual advances and then raped her body.

McDonough said she helped dump Marriott's body into the Portsmouth harbor.

Mazzaglia has maintained his innocence, insisting it was McDonough who killed Marriott in a bondage act that went awry.

Mazzaglia's attorney has appealed his conviction to the New Hampshire Supreme Court on the grounds that the judge had improperly barred evidence related to Marriott and that he should have declared a mistrial at one point.

(Editing By Frank McGurty)