Defense lawyer to testify in motion to dismiss Farmington double-slay case

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Accused killer Timothy Verrill smiles at defense lawyer Meredity Lugo shortly after a mistrial was declared in his October trial. (Rochester Voice file photo)

DOVER - A defense lawyer for the suspect in a 2017 double-killing in Farmington is among the witnesses scheduled to testify during a four-day Motion to Dismiss hearing set for next week in Strafford County Superior Court.

Timothy Verrill, 37, of Dover, is accused of first first-degree murder in the Jan. 27, 2017, deaths of Christine Sullivan, 48, of 979 Meaderboro Road, Farmington, and Jenna Pellegrini, 32, of Barrington. He faces life in prison without parole if found guilty.

His first trial in October ended with a mistrial due to a large amount of potential evidence held by police that wasn't shared with Verrill's defense team.

State Police Lt. Brian Strong (Rochester Voice file photo)

Public defenders Julia Nye and Meredith Lugo also demanded after the mistrial that they be given full access to longtime ongoing drug probes by the DEA and State Police, something they weren't afforded during the first trial.

Testimony at the October trial revealed substantial drug activity at the Farmington home where the killings occurred.

"The connections between the DEA investigations and the deliberate decision to separate the drug investigation from the homicide investigation prevents the defense from ever being assured that Verrill is getting the Brady material and other discovery to which he is constitutionally entitled," Nye and Lugo said in their written Motion to Dismiss arguments.

Convicted drug trafficker Dean Smoronk, who owned the Farmington home where Sullivan, his longtime girlfriend; and her acquaintance, Pellegrini, were bludgeoned and stabbed to death, was portrayed by Lugo and Nye as an alternative suspect in the women's deaths.

Lugo and Nye will also call to the stand six State Police officers, including Lt. Brian Strong. former lead investigator in the case, who bungled much of the discovery process, according to both prosecutors and the defense.

Christine Sullivan, Timothy Verrill and Jenna Pellegrini

But even though Police made significant discovery mistakes, the state's Attorney General, Gordon A. MacDonald, said while, "violations in this case have been serious, they were neither willful nor malicious, and were the product of unique and unprecedented negligent oversight rather than systematic dysfunction by either police or prosecutors."

MacDonald, in his briefs rebutting the Motion to Dismiss, also submitted as arguments, trial Judge Steven Houran's original denial of a Motion to Dismiss soon after the mistrial was declared last fall.

The hearing begins Monday at 10 a.m.

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