The N.H. Supreme Court has denied Seth Mazzaglia's appeal for a new trial for the 2012 rape and murder of UNH student Lizzi Marriott.
The court unanimously upheld the lower court's decision to exclude evidence about the victim’s sexual past from trial, which was protected under the state’s Rape Shield Law.
Last month the lawyer representing 34-year-old Seth Mazzaglia, Chris Johnson, told the justices that this specific evidence was crucial to his defense and should have been heard by the jury.
“We are disappointed in the ruling," Johnson said. "We believed that the arguments we presented at the court should have persuaded them to see this issue in the way that we had seen it."
During his 2014 trial, Mazzaglia argued that 19-year-old Lizzi Marriott died during consensual rough sex between him and his girlfriend at the time. Prosecutors say Marriott was strangled to death by Mazzaglia after she refused to have sex with him.
In a written opinion, the justices stated that “consent to sexual conduct with one person in no way implies consent to such activity with another,” concluding that the victim's sexual past was irreverent to the facts of this case.
Amanda Grady Sexton of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence stated that, “Today the dignity and privacy of Lizzi Marriott has been protected, and justice has been served. Rape victims can now come forward with the peace of mind that the court will focus its attention on the crimes of the rapist, not on irrelevant information about them.”
Mazzaglia is serving his life sentence without parole up in Berlin. Mazzaglia; however, still has the opportunity to challenge his conviction through state and federal means. You can read the court's ruling on the case right here.