By Ted Siefer
MANCHESTER N.H. (Reuters) - A New Hampshire judge is expected to rule on Tuesday whether to compel a man found guilty last month of raping and murdering a college student to attend a hearing this week where he will face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
An attorney for Seth Mazzaglia, 31, filed a motion in Strafford County Superior Court late last week asserting "his constitutional right to waive his presence" at the hearing.
Prosecutor Peter Hinckley argued that the request was "vastly outweighed by the countervailing interests of ... the court system, the prosecution, the victims of the defendant's crimes, and society as a whole."
Last month, Mazzaglia was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Elizabeth Marriott, who was a 19-year-old student at the University of New Hampshire, after a month-long that featured lurid details of the occult, sadomasochism and romantic betrayal.
Mazzaglia was accused of having his girlfriend, Kathryn McDonough, lure Marriott to their apartment so he could have sex with her.
McDonough, 20, who was the state's star witness, testified that Mazzaglia strangled Marriott after she rejected his sexual advances and that he then raped her lifeless body.
McDonough admitted to helping dump Marriott's body in the Portsmouth harbor and initially lying to investigators by saying her death was accidental during a night of rough sex.
Marriott's body has not been found.
As part of a plea deal, McDonough is serving a reduced sentence of 18 months to three years.
Mazzaglia did not take the stand during the trial.
(Editing by Scott Malone and Eric Walsh)