By Ted Siefer
DOVER N.H. (Reuters) - A New Hampshire man found guilty of murdering a 19-year-old college student was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday following wrenching statements from the victim's family, who called him a "monster."
Seth Mazzaglia, 32, received a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for first degree murder involving a sexual assault. A jury found Mazzaglia guilty last month of the October 2012 murder of Elizabeth Marriott, then a student at the University of New Hampshire.
"You stole her from us," Melissa Marriott, the mother of the victim, told Mazzaglia in a quavering voice. "Lizzi was so happy to be studying at UNH ... Lizzi's future was so bright, and now it's gone."
Mazzaglia, who did not take the stand during his trial, sat expressionless during much of the hearing, but made a brief statement to proclaim his innocence.
"I did not rape and murder Elizabeth Marriott, however, I do understand the Marriott family's pain," he said. “My heart goes out to Marriott family, and I’m very sorry for their loss."
Several of Marriott's relatives directed anger toward Mazzaglia, calling him a "monster," "coward" and "degenerate."
"You never showed any indication of remorse," Charlotte Panneton, Marriott’s grandmother, said. "You will, as animals do, spend the rest of your life in a cage."
A large photo of Marriott smiling in the sunlight was displayed at the front of the courtroom.
A jury found Mazzaglia guilty following a lurid trial that featured details of the occult, sadomasochism and romantic betrayal.
Prosecutors accused Mazzaglia of strangling Marriott after she was lured to his apartment as a sex offering by his then-girlfriend, Kathryn McDonough, who would become the state's star witness.
McDonough testified that Mazzaglia strangled Marriott after she rejected his sexual advances and then raped her lifeless body.
The defense contended that Marriott died after consensually participating in rough sex with McDonough.
Several family members on Thursday decried this portrayal of Marriott.
(Editing by Scott Malone, Bernadette Baum and Jim Loney)