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Double-murder trial for women slain in Farmington in January '17 postponed till May

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Timothy Verrill (Police mug shot) is charged in the deaths of Christine Sullivan, left, and Jenna Pellegrini. (Courtesy)

DOVER - Justice is still a long ways off for two local women brutally murdered in Farmington in January of last year.

Some 10 months after he was indicted and several months after his long-awaited trial was scheduled for this November, the defense lawyer for alleged killer Tim Verrill of Dover has been granted a continuance till next May.

Verrill, 35, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of reckless second-degree murder and five counts of falsifying physical evidence in connection with the deaths of Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini in Farmington on Jan. 27, 2017.

Verrill was indicted in November on first-degree murder charges for allegedly causing the death of Christine Sullivan, 48, of Farmington, by stabbing her multiple times and striking her in the head with a blunt object.

Verrill was also indicted for first-degree murder for allegedly causing the death of Jenna Pellegrini, 32, of Barrington, by stabbing her multiple times.

Verrill's lead defense counsel, Melissa Lynn Davis, filed the Aug. 14 motion to delay the trial, writing "due to ongoing investigation and discovery matters more time is needed to prepare Mr. Verrill's defense."

Strafford County Judge Steven M. Houran approved the continuance the same day.

As part of the agreement, which was approved by the state, Verrill waived his right to a speedy trial.

Evidence in what prosecutors characterize as a "complex" case is expected to include thousands of pages of documents as well as dozens of CDs containing audio recordings and photographs.

Adding to the complexity of the case is the fact that Dean Smoronk, the owner of the Meaderboro Road property where the killings occurred and a longtime boyfriend of Sullivan, is awaiting trial in a South Carolina court in a 2014 meth trafficking case and is recognized by the state of New Hampshire as a known drug trafficker.

The state of New Hampshire sought to seize some $14,000 in cash found at his Meaderboro Road home in February, but forfeited its case when a notice of intent to seize was filed a day late at Strafford County Superior Court. The state had said the money was related to drug activity.

It was Smoronk who told police he found the bodies of the two women after returning home late Jan. 28, 2017, on a flight from Florida, where he and Sullivan also spent time.

Smoronk in no way has been connected to the killings and has never been identified by police or prosecutors as a suspect or person of interest in the case.

The brother of Sullivan, Jeff Sullivan of Monmouth, N.J., told The Rochester Voice last year that his sister, Smoronk and Verrill were all friends.

He said his sister had known Verrill for three years and that Smoronk had known him a lot longer than that, though he couldn't be specific.

He said Verrill had traveled to Florida a couple of times with Smoronk where he owns property in southwest Florida that he rents out in the winter.

In the South Carolina case, Smoronk and Christina Marie Cuozzo, then 45, of Meaderboro Road, were stopped in South Carolina on Interstate 95 after their car pulled into the lane of a Sumter County deputy and almost sideswiped the cruiser, according to news reports.

During the stop, a K-9 unit was called and suspected methamphetamine was found in Cuozzo's purse and a large quantity of suspected methamphetamine was found inside a fake energy drink along with a small amount of marijuana, pills and an unknown white powder inside a black computer bag, according to the report. Marie Cuozzo was later identified by law enforcement officials as an alias for the late Christine Sullivan.

A spokesman for the South Carolina court system said recently they still expected Smoronk would be brought to trial, likely this fall or winter.

During one of Verrill's bail hearings last fall, Davis suggested Smoronk may have been leery that Sullivan would testify against him on those charges.

Smoronk, who was also arrested in Virginia for drug possession last summer, made a plea deal in the case and was released from Pamunkey (Va.) Regional Jail on those charges in April after serving his sentence.

Smoronk remains out on personal recognizance bail from the 2014 South Carolina charges, the most serious of which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. The spokesman was not immediately available for comment today.

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