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Masked Closing in Dominatrix Trial

January 28, 2006|From Associated Press

DEDHAM, Mass. — A prosecutor put on a black leather mask and reenacted a bondage session Friday at a dominatrix's manslaughter trial, telling the jury the woman did nothing to help her client when he suffered a heart attack.

Prosecutor Robert Nelson also dumped a box of hoods, collars and paddles onto a table during his closing arguments, declaring that 56-year-old Barbara Asher was trying to protect her business and "that's why she didn't call the police."

The jury deliberated for about four hours Friday before being sent home until Monday morning.

Asher, who called herself Mistress Lauren M, is charged with manslaughter and dismemberment in Michael Lord's death. She has pleaded not guilty.

Lord, a 53-year-old retired telephone company worker from North Hampton, N.H., died in 2000 while strapped to a replica of a medieval torture device in Asher's Quincy condominium, according to police. His body was never found.

Police said Asher confessed that she and her boyfriend chopped up Lord's body in a bathtub and dumped it behind a restaurant in Maine. Her attorney says the confession was coerced by police.

In a reenactment for the jury, the prosecutor donned the mask, and with both hands, reached back and clutched the top of a blackboard to simulate how Lord was strapped.

"After a gasp, his head went forward and she did nothing, nothing for five minutes," Nelson said, his voice muffled as he spoke through the zippered mouth opening.

Lord's attorney objected, and Judge Charles Grabau agreed.

"That's enough, Mr. Nelson," the judge said. "Thank you for your demonstration."

Defense attorney Stephanie Page told the jury that prosecutors failed to produce any incriminating evidence. "No body. No blood. No DNA. No evidence."

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