DOVER - A withering barrage of derogatory and profane text messages by convicted drug dealer Dean Smoronk against his longtime girlfriend as well as his alleged thirst to enrich his drug empire may have something to do with her death and the death of her friend, defense attorneys sought to establish on Tuesday in the Timothy Verrill murder trial now under way in Strafford County Superior Court.
Verrill, 37, formerly of Dover, is charged with first degree murder in the deaths of Christine Sullivan, 48, of Farmington; and her friend, Jenna Pellegrini, 32, of Barrington on Jan. 27, 2017.
The killings occurred at 979 Meaderboro Road, which at the time was owned by Dean V. Smoronk, the longtime boyfriend of Sullivan.
But, according to Vanessa Mango, who said she dated Smoronk from 2014-2018 while he was still in a relationship with Sullivan, he spent "about 90 percent" of his time in Florida at his Cape Coral condominium.
Mango testified that in the weeks and months leading up to the killings, Smoronk had grown increasingly frustrated with Sullivan's activities at his home, including increased outsiders visiting her as well as a home business she ran selling items online that he felt cluttered up the house.
Mango, of Fort Myers, Fla., said she got a message from Smoronk soon after he returned home two days after the killings to find blood all over his house - but before authorities discovered the bodies - that said, "It's very sad. A double homicide of two unsuspecting women."
|Court bailiffs and SCSO deputies bracket murder suspect Timothy Verrill on Tuesday during Day 2 of his trial in the killings of two women in Farmington in 2017. (Rochester Voice photos)
Meanwhile, prosecutors, who called her to the stand prior to cross-examination, used Mango to buttress their position that Smoronk was nowhere near New Hampshire during the time Sullivan was killed. Mango testified they were at a motel in Ft. Meyers, Fla, the entire time.
Also testifying on Tuesday was Farmington Police Detective Lt. Embrey, who was the first to download Smoronk's phone the day police were first called to the 979 Meaderboro Road House where the women were killed.
Under defense questioning Embrey testified that Smoronk initially refused to hand over the phone, but later consented adding he was "embarrassed" by the profane and abusive language that would be found in his unrelenting attacks on Sullivan.
During opening arguments the defense team argued that Smoronk wanted to kick Sullivan out of his Farmington house, but feared she might turn on him in connection with drug charges out of South Carolina they were both facing as a result of a drug arrest there in the 1990s.
Smoronk, 57, is facing at least five years in federal prison for drug trafficking when he is sentenced in December in federal court in Concord.
Public defender Julia Nye alleged a second bombshell adding that DNA found under Sullivan's fingernails and blood found on the ceiling in the kitchen was not Verrill's.
Prosecutors said the killings fell solely on the shoulders of Verrill, who they said first killed Sullivan by bludgeoning her unconscious before stabbing her eight times. They said he killed Pellegrini by stabbing her 43 times as she slept.
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.
If Verrill is found guilty of first degree murder he could face life in prison without parole.
He has also been charged with alternative counts of first-degree murder, second-degree murder (knowing), and second-degree murder (reckless) as well as five counts of falsifying physical evidence.
Scores of civilians, including many local residents have also been named as potential witnesses as well as dozens of state and local police officers and expert witnesses from as far away as Georgia and Virginia.
Much of the evidence to be presented during trial remains sealed.
The 4-week trial continues today in Strafford County Superior Court.