Testimony From the State’s Dead Witness in Verrill Double Murder Trial Pushed Back

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Timothy Verrill is pictured in Strafford Superior Court in Dover.


DOVER – Time ran out Wednesday for the dead in Strafford Superior Court.

Stephen Clough, the state’s dead witness, didn’t get to appear Wednesday at the double-murder trial against Timothy Verrill, as the clock ran out before video of his prior court testimony could be played for jurors.

Clough’s inclusion as a witness at this second trial could end up biting prosecutors. Clough’s own possible involvement in the crime was unknown until prosecutors started admitting to the discovery violations that resulted in the 2019 trial ending in a mistrial.

 Clough was an informant for DEA agents investigating the drug trafficking ring at the center of the murders. According to the evidence originally held back from the defense, witnesses told investigators Clough, “Spider” Mike Ditoria, and Dean Smoronk were present when the murders took place.

Wednesday’s evidence focused on forensic evidence like latent fingerprints and other crime scene processing steps taken at the Farmington home where Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini were murdered on Jan. 27 of 2017.

While Verrill’s fingerprints were found at the home, the fact that he was a frequent guest lessens the impact of those findings. Jurors learned that while Verrill’s fingerprints were missing from items like a carpet cleaner and a shovel found at the home, John “Buddy” Seymour’s prints were on the shovel.

According to a witness, Seymour claimed he moved the bodies after the murder for Smoronk. This information was also withheld from the defense at Verrill’s first trial.

Smoronk and Sullivan were partners running a drug trafficking business, as well as romantic partners. Verrill was one of their dealers. However, in the weeks leading to the murders Smoronk wanted to get his girlfriend out of the business. Witnesses have testified he frequently told people he hated Sullivan, and in yet more evidence not originally shared with the defense, Smoronk tried to hire a Florida man to kill her.

Smoronk, who testified at the first trial, has not been called yet to give evidence.

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