DOVER, N.H. – A New Hampshire man who raped and killed a college student was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the chance of parole after the victim's family tearfully and angrily lamented what he took from them.
Seth Mazzaglia, 31, received the maximum sentence Thursday for the killing of 19-year-old Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, of Westborough, Massachusetts.
Mazzaglia was convicted in June of first-degree murder and other charges. The key witness was Mazzaglia's ex-girlfriend, Kathryn McDonough, who testified that she lured Marriott to their apartment as a sexual offering for her domineering boyfriend.
McDonough testified that Mazzaglia strangled Marriott after she twice rejected his sexual advances. The pair then threw Marriott's body in a river. It's never been found. McDonough is serving 1 1/2 to 3 years in prison for hindering prosecution.
Marriot's mother, Melissa Marriott, told Mazzaglia before the sentence was announced, "I want you to know that I unequivocally hate you."
She continued in a firm voice: "You are a cowardly, despicable person. You stole our smart, vivacious, beautiful daughter from us. You murdered Lizzi, raped her lifeless body and then threw her away because Lizzi had the self-confidence and the self-esteem to say no to you."
Mazzaglia spoke briefly, saying he didn't kill Marriott but he was sorry for the family's loss.
"I did not rape and murder Elizabeth Marriott," he said. "However, I do understand the Marriott family's pain and I did play a part in covering up her death, a mistake I tried to correct when investigators came to me and I showed them exactly where I left Lizzi's body. Unfortunately, they were unable to recover her and for that I am truly sorry. My heart goes out to the Marriot family and I am very sorry for their loss."
Just before he was sentenced, Mazzaglia's mother, Heather Mazzaglia, asked if she could speak with the Marriotts. She went into the conference room used by prosecutors and gave Bob Marriott an extended hug while sobbing. She gave him a folded note and told an Associated Press reporter upon exiting that she told him "only that I'm sorry." She also hugged Elizabeth's brother, Robert Marriott Jr., who went with his father into the room.
She also asked to speak with Melissa Marriott but Bob Marriott shook his head.
Also addressing Mazzaglia were Marriott's grandparents, father, girlfriend and other relatives and friends.
At least eight of the jurors who convicted Mazzaglia also were in attendance.
On an easel, a large portrait of a beaming Elizabeth Marriott holding out a frog in the palm of her hands was tilted toward Mazzaglia. His parents were also in court, separated from Marriott's relatives and friends by a table where a court security officer sat.
McDonough initially told investigators that Marriott died while the two women were engaged in consensual rough sex. Granted immunity from prosecution, she later said Mazzaglia strangled Marriott after she twice rebuffed him.