ALFRED — Jason Twardus’ father told a grand jury in New Hampshire two years ago that his son said he called friends in Portsmouth several times on the evening of Aug. 7, 2007, to find out if they wanted to go fishing.

When the friends didn’t answer the calls, Jason Twardus told his father, he decided to fish alone at Rye Beach. He returned to the house they shared in Rochester, N.H., around 5 a.m.

But in Twardus’ murder trial, now in its second week in York County Superior Court, one of those friends has already testified that they had no plans with Twardus and never got any calls from him that night.

The discrepancy between Brian Twardus’ testimony Tuesday and the earlier testimony of Adam Poulin could be a crucial point for the jurors when they consider whether Jason Twardus lied about his whereabouts on the last night his ex-fiancee, Kelly Gorham, was seen alive.

Twardus is accused of strangling Gorham, a 30-year-old nursing student, at her apartment in Alfred early on Aug. 8, 2007. Prosecutors claim Twardus put Gorham’s body in his Subaru Impreza and, after stopping back at home in Rochester in the morning, drove the body about 160 miles north.

He allegedly buried Gorham in a 2-foot-deep grave on a remote piece of land owned by his father in Stewartstown, N.H. Police unearthed the body on Sept. 2, 2007, after finding a patch of disturbed ground.

Twardus and Gorham had been engaged, but she broke it off around Christmas 2006. They continued to live together until early June, when Gorham asked Twardus to move out. He moved in with his father.

Brian Twardus said Jason called in sick to work at Cole Haan on Aug. 7, 2007, but was feeling all right by the time Brian Twardus got home around 5:45 p.m.

“He was up and about and seemed to be fine,” Brian Twardus testified, adding that Jason told him he planned to go fishing later at Rye Beach and would be out all night. Brian Twardus said his son left the house around 9 p.m.

The next day, Aug. 8, Brian Twardus awoke around 5:15 a.m. as usual to get ready for his job as an electrician at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.

His son “was just coming out of the bathroom and there were wet clothes on the shower rod,” he testified. “It appeared he had just come in.”

Brian Twardus said he did not have a conversation with his son. Jason went into his bedroom, got under the covers and appeared to be asleep within a few minutes, his father said.

Prosecutors intend to introduce evidence, possibly today, suggesting that at 7:06 that morning, Twardus withdrew $100 from an ATM – allegedly for the trip to Stewartstown.

The forensic pathologist who did the autopsy on Gorham on Sept. 4, 2007, also testified Tuesday.

Dr. Thomas Andrew, New Hampshire’s chief medical examiner, said the body showed no signs of an assault or external injuries. But internally, Andrew noted severe bruising and bleeding in the muscles of Gorham’s neck. The bruising was most extensive on her right side, Andrew said.

“The death was brought about by some sort of constriction or pressure put on the neck, strangulation,” Andrew testified.

Andrew said the lack of insect activity on the body suggested that Gorham had been buried “fairly soon after she died,” but he could not estimate how much time passed between her death and her burial.

Gorham could have been killed on Aug. 8, and she could have been killed much closer to Sept. 2, the date she was exhumed by investigators, Andrew said.

The jury is expected to get the case for deliberation late this week or early next week.

 

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at: [email protected]