Appeal of Double-Murder Charges to Be Heard by NH’s Top Court
The New Hampshire Supreme Court will hear the appeal of a Dover man who is accused of stabbing two women to death in Farmington.
Timothy Verrill, 38, is charged with killing Christine Sullivan, 48, and Jenna Pellegrini, 32, at 979 Meaderboro Road in Farmington on Jan. 27, 2017. He has been behind bars for more than four years as prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office work to convict him.
Verrill faced a jury of his peers at Strafford County Superior Court in the fall of 2019, but a mistrial was declared Nov. 1 of that year after it was revealed that exculpatory evidence was not provided to his defense team.
Public defenders Meredith Lugo, Julia Nye and David Rothstein say that evidence could have proven Verrill's innocence. They have always suggested Verrill was not the killer, and someone else showed up at the house on the night in question to commit the murders.
Lugo, Nye and Rothstein submitted for an appeal to the Supreme Court claiming that putting Verrill back on trial would violate the U.S. Constitution "because the retrial would violate the defendant's rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause."
Verril's attorneys ask if the state's discovery violations created "aggravated circumstances such that retrial of Verrill would be fundamentally unfair under the Due Process Clauses of the state and federal Constitutions."
The defense team wants the charges against their client dropped.
Prosecutors Geoffrey Ward, Peter Hinckley and Jesse O'Neill of the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office moved to dismiss Verrill's notice of appeal, arguing that under these circumstances, the present matter does not appear to be correctly brought forward under court rules.
The decision to move forward with an appeal was issued last month. Family members of the victims say they did not find out about this new plot twist until Monday, when Foster's Daily Democrat, a newspaper in Dover, published an article online.
Sullivan's brother, Jeff Sullivan, said on Tuesday this process has been very hard.
"It's extremely frustrating. You see cases all over the country getting before the courts and being settled so quickly, and we're still waiting for justice," Jeff Sullivan said.
A briefing schedule has not yet been set. The matter is still in the transcript phase, according to Communications Officer Tammy Jackson.
Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @KimberleyHaas.