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  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    Corey Furgal enters the courtroom Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Furgal is on trial for second degree murder for stabbing Christopher Vydfol in October of 2009.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    Zachary Moore identifies Corey Furgal seated at the defense table during Furgal's trial Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Moore testified how his iPod was stolen from a party in Merrimack on Halloween night 2009 where Furgal is alledged to have stabbed Christopher Vydfol. Furgal is on trial for second degree murder for killing Vydfol.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    Corey Furgal enters courtroom 8 at the Hillsborough County Superior Courthouse in Nashua Monday, April5, 2010.
Saturday, January 29, 2011

Party guest says victim’s brother held screwdriver

NASHUA – At least one member of the group that followed Corey Furgal from a Halloween house party in 2009 held a weapon, witnesses testified Friday on the fourth day of Furgal’s murder trial.

Steven Vydfol, the brother of Christopher Vydfol, who was killed at the Merrimack party, briefly held a screwdriver prior to the stabbing that laid his brother to rest, Zachary Moore, a party guest, told jurors Friday in Hillsborough County Superior Court.

Moore, 22, of Merrimack, said he saw Steven Vydfol holding the screwdriver as the group followed Furgal away from the house at 157 Bedford Road. But he didn’t see the tool again as Furgal left the party, escorted by Christopher Vydfol, Moore told the jurors.

Furgal’s defense attorneys, Paul Borchardt and James Malfitani, have acknowledged that Furgal stabbed Christopher Vydfol, 20, as the two walked away from the party. But the attorneys say Furgal did so only after being threatened by the angry group that surrounded him, challenging him over a missing iPod, and demanded that he leave the party.

Furgal, 25, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.

Malfitani questioned Moore on Friday about the screwdriver Moore reported seeing in Steven Vydfol’s hand as the group followed Furgal from the house.

“You said you saw Steven with the screwdriver,” Malfitani said as Moore nodded his head yes.

“And you didn’t see it again, right?” the attorney asked. “But you didn’t see him put it down.”

Witnesses say Christopher Vydfol was serving as a peacemaker before the stabbing, trying to defuse an argument that started when party guests challenged Furgal, then 23, over an iPod that had disappeared.

Investigators later found a knife and an iPod around the crime scene, although prosecutors said Friday that the iPod belonged to Steven Vydfol and wasn’t the one, owned by Moore, that had disappeared from the party.

Moore testified Friday that he and other guests asked many of the party guests to empty their pockets to see if they had kept the iPod accidentally. But one guest, Furgal, declined to “run his pockets” because he didn’t want to show the drugs he had on him, Moore said.

As party guests pressed him on the matter, Furgal grew more agitated, and instead of showing his pockets, he flashed a knife, launching a brief scuffle, Moore said, echoing the sentiments of other witnesses.

Throughout the trial, defense attorneys have questioned whether punches were thrown during the scuffle, which took place on a back deck.

Zachary Cassidy, of Londonderry, told the court Friday that some punches were thrown. But other witnesses have said it was limited largely to pushing and shouting, and that the group of party guests didn’t pose a direct threat to Furgal as they followed him away from the party.

One witness, Steven Massua, testified Thursday, however, that he tackled Steven Vydfol in an attempt to keep him away from Furgal as Furgal walked away from the house prior to the stabbing.

“I didn’t know if he was going after him to fight or keep arguing or what,” Massua said Thursday.

Several witnesses who followed Furgal up the driveway have told the jury they tried to pick up weapons after they heard Christopher Vydfol had been stabbed.

The party host, Robert Brackett, testified earlier in the week that he retrieved a baseball bat from his car and that he used the bat to hit Furgal across the back after he tracked him down.

George Bigwood told the court on Friday that he tried to pick up a ladder as he walked toward Furgal. But the ladder was chained to a tree, forcing him to leave it.

Questioned why he would pick up the ladder, Bigwood said he wasn’t sure.

“It’s not like I hit him with it or anything,” he said. “It’s not like I attacked him.”

Before Judge Linda Nicolosi adjourned court for the weekend, jurors listened attentively to the 911 call in which Cassidy and other party guests reported the stabbing.

Shouts echoed through the background of the four-minute call, placed about 1:35 a.m. Cassidy can be heard telling the 911 dispatcher that Vydfol was conscious and aware.

“He’s good. He just says he’s having trouble breathing,” Cassidy told the operator.

Police officers and party guests alike have testified this week that they didn’t gauge the severity of the injury at the time.

The cut, which Bigwood described as “not very big, not very wide,” didn’t bleed much, witnesses said.

“It just looked like somebody slashed at him,” Merrimack Police Sgt. Sean McGuire testified earlier in the week. “It wasn’t very deep.”

Nicolosi adjourned court for the week about 3 p.m. Friday. The trial is expected to continue Monday.

Jake Berry can be reached at 594-6402 or