DOVER, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Friday upheld the conviction of a Dover woman who paid relatives to kill her boyfriend in 2008.
The court rejected the appeal of 44-year-old Dianna Saunders, who claimed she did not consent to a search of her home and vehicles after David King’s body was found in the basement of the home they shared.
Saunders is serving a life sentence after a jury convicted her in March 2011 of two counts of theft, conspiracy to commit murder and being an accomplice to murder.
Prosecutors said she enlisted her ex-husband and her former stepson to kill King to cover up the theft of thousands of dollars she swindled in a real estate deal with a local doctor.
Defense lawyers had argued her ex-husband arranged the killing on his own out of jealousy.
The court. in its unanimous ruling, cited a Dover detective’s elaborate explanation to Saunders of the search they were looking to conduct before having Saunders sign a consent form.
On appeal, Saunders claimed she consented only to a documentation of the crime scene and not a wholesale search of her house.
At the start of her trial last year, a prosecutor told jurors Saunders enlisted her ex-husband, Roy Saunders and his son, Derek Saunders, to kill King. Derek Saunders brought his roommate, Scott Mazzone, into the plot.
Prosecutor Michael Lewis said that after Roy Saunders received a call from Dianna Saunders saying she was leaving the house and that King was alone in the basement, Mazzone and Derek Saunders ambushed him. Mazzone shot King in the back of the head and then slashed his throat Aug. 29, 2008.
Mazzone and Derek Saunders have pleaded guilty — Mazzone to second-degree murder and Saunders to accomplice to second-degree murder. Mazzone agreed to a sentence of 33 years to life. Saunders will be sentenced to 22 years to life.
Roy Saunders cooperated with investigators and tape recorded conversations he had with his ex-wife after the crime. He was supposed to turn himself in on a second-degree murder charge in April of 2009, but was found dead in a Massachusetts motel room, an apparent suicide.