Jury finds Marden guilty of felonious sexual assault

NASHUA – A Superior Court jury late Friday afternoon returned a guilty verdict against Jonathan Marden, the 21-year-old Nashua man accused by a former girlfriend of raping her in his car last fall.

Jurors deliberated for about 2 1/2 hours before reaching their decision to convict Marden on the single felony count of aggravated felonious sexual assault.

Upon the reading of the verdict, Judge Philip Mangiones ordered Marden, who had been free on bail, remanded to Valley Street jail pending sentencing.

A sentencing hearing is expected to take place in early November. The exact date is to be determined.

Marden, a fairly tall man wearing a button-down shirt and dress pants, stood at the defense table with his lawyer, Nashua Attorney Timothy Goulden, as the jury announced its verdict.

Six or seven people believed to be family members and friends of Marden were in the courtroom for the verdict, as they had been for all three days of his trial in Hillsborough County superior Court South.

Both Marden and the victim, a then-16-year-old girl who dated Marden for several months in 2016, testified at trial, which began Wednesday with opening statements by Goulden and the prosecutor, Assistant County Attorney Cassie Devine.

The victim, now 17 and a high school senior who lives with her family in the Nashua area, was not in court Friday.

She was the first of several witnesses Devine called to the stand Wednesday as testimony began following opening statements.

Others included Nashua police detective Caleb Gilbert; Jenny Ruiz, a nurse trained in evaluating and treating victims of sexual assault; a physician who specializes in child abuse and neglect cases; and a forensic technician from the New Hampshire State Laboratory in Concord.

It was at the outset of Friday’s proceedings that Goulden called his first and only witness — his client.

Marden, who said he’s employed in the customer service field and volunteers at his church on Sundays, said it was he who ended the brief relationship with the victim, “because of the lies … I felt she wasn’t trustworthy,” he told the jury.

His account of the events the evening of Oct. 26 differed somewhat from what he told Gilbert, the detective, during an interview early on Oct. 27.

He indicted to Gilbert that the victim “kind of” said “no” or “stop” while they were having sex in his vehicle, which was parked near her car in an otherwise empty lot at a south Nashua retail store where the victim worked at the time.

Marden also testified that when a store employee and security guard knocked on his window, the victim “whispered to me” to “drive her to the bottom of the ramp,” meaning to a lower level parking area.

Asked by Goulden if she said anything, Marden said “she was upset … she said something like, ‘Oh, great, now I’m going to lose my job.'”

“Did she ask you why you didn’t stop?” Goulden asked.

“No,” Marden replied.

But in her earlier testimony, the victim said she asked Marden “why he didn’t stop,” and said he answered, ‘I don’t know.'”

She said he then said “I’m sorry,” according to her testimony.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.