Woman tells of man's drinking, their fight


NASHUA - Rebecca McKenzie said she'd never seen her boyfriend drink anything but beer. In her two-month relationship with Raymond Paul Thomas, he didn't sip water, McKenzie said. He didn't have juice. He just drank beer, she told a jury Wednesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court. On the morning of March 24, 2002, McKenzie testified, Thomas looked "the worst I'd seen him." She described Thomas sitting on a couch in her Kinsley Street apartment, holding a beer, appearing sleepless, while he demanded to know where she'd spent the previous night. The couple's on-and-off fighting that day finally exploded. McKenzie testified that Thomas punched her, and that she called her friend Cheryl Ann Voight to pick her up. "He told me I was not going to leave and punched me in the face again," McKenzie said. At that point, McKenzie recalled, Thomas held her to the floor under his knee and, moments before stabbing her in the back with a kitchen blade, said, "I want you to die. You're going to (expletive) die, bitch." The now 33-year-old McKenzie was testifying at Thomas' third trial for attempted murder. Thomas was convicted on the charge in 2005 and sentenced to 37 years in State Prison, but a higher court ordered a new trial because jurors should have been allowed to consider lesser charges. A second trial was scheduled for last June, but a problem with several jurors resulted in a mistrial just after opening arguments. On Wednesday, McKenzie described suffering from depression and checking into Southern New Hampshire Medical Center for treatment, which is where she met Thomas - who, she said, was detoxing there - in 2002. Thomas moved into McKenzie's apartment because he didn't have a place to stay sober, she testified, but his sobriety didn't last. On March 23, the couple had plans to go out drinking, but McKenzie couldn't find her license. Thomas left without her, which she said made her angry. Instead, McKenzie called her longtime friend, Voight. The two women and Voight's brother went out, with McKenzie returning home early the next morning. Thomas, McKenzie said, accused her of cheating, with the fighting and eventual assault occurring hours later in the afternoon. As she lay bleeding in the living room, McKenzie described hearing Voight arrive, hearing an altercation between her friend and Thomas in the kitchen, the sound of police radios and the taste of blood in her mouth. "I couldn't figure out why I couldn't move," McKenzie said. Elements of McKenzie's testimony conflicted with what Thomas initially told police during an interview the day after the incident. In tapes played in court Wednesday, Thomas is heard giving timeframes that differ from other testimony; he said McKenzie was the one to hit him during an argument. He told police he didn't recall seeing Voight in the apartment that day or McKenzie's toddler-age son, whom she testified was in a bedroom. The entire recording wasn't played because of time. Nashua police also offered testimony regarding evidence collection, and so did two members of the state police forensic laboratory. Kevin G. McMahon, a criminalist there, said he examined three beer cans and a pack of cigarettes found at the apartment. His examination determined there was blood on all four items. Melisa Staples, assistant lab director, analyzed DNA in those blood smears and matched it with a sample from Thomas. Charles O'Leary, one of Thomas' attorneys, pointed out that those tests weren't done until May 2007 and argued the results do not indicate how, at what time or for how long blood would have been on the items. The state is expected to rest its case today.
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