Closing arguments to be made next week, followed by jury deliberation
Pictured is a screen grab from court video of Roy Niemi, centre, at a fabricated meeting at the Royal York in Toronto with two undercover officers pretending to be members of a criminal organization. TRACY MCLAUGHLIN - Special to QMI Agency
After months of intense work and living in a fictitious world of organized crime and fast money, undercover officers finally succeeded in getting Roy Niemi to take the bait and offer up a detailed confession to a gruesome murder, a Barrie jury heard Wednesday.
Believing it was his only way into the mob “family” where he would make big money, Niemi wrote out exactly how he said he killed a 20-year-old Orillia woman.
It was the last day of evidence in the case against Niemi, 34, who has been on trial for the murder and mutilation of Alyssa Watson. The young mother of two was found strangled, with her throat cut, then left half naked off a nature trail in Orillia on Aug. 19, 2006.
Watching a video played in court, the jury saw how Niemi handed his letter to the man he thought was the boss of the organization.
The letter, written in Niemi’s scrawled handwriting with several spelling errors, reads: ‘I hit her from behind with a wisky bottle Nothing happened so I choked her with my Right arm the I used the purse strap then tried to break her neck … then I cut her throat … then…’
The letter goes on to describe how he cut Watson from her throat down her abdomen.
“Good work,” says the boss, as the men sit in a Toronto hotel suite.
“Good work, bud, we’re in!” says his undercover friend, who had worked for months to convince Niemi that if he confessed to the murder they could both be allowed to be partners in the organization.
“Why did you cut her?” the boss asked.
“Just to make it look good,” Niemi answered.
He described how there was no blood when he cut her.
Earlier in the trial, a pathologist told the jury there would have been no bleeding because Watson was already dead and her heart had stopped.
“Why did you do it?” asks the boss.
Niemi explained he was hired by an unknown person to kill Watson for $10,000, a story that neither the Crown nor the defence lawyers believe.
“Can you show me how you did it?” the boss asked.
Reluctantly, Niemi stood in the hotel room and put his arm around the neck of his undercover friend and brought him to his knees. Throughout the confession, Niemi said he was ashamed of what he did.
Listening to the detailed murder description, Watson’s mother, Amanda Watson, sat near the front of the court, her head bowed, as she held back tears as she heard how her daughter was mutilated. But once outside of the courtroom, tears flowed freely.
“I feel so alone,” she said, wiping tears, her shoulders heaving as she sobbed. “I feel like no one in the world cares about what happened to her.”
During cross-examination, defence lawyer Richard Stern posed the possibility that Niemi might have confessed to the murder only to please the boss so that he could work for him.
He pointed out that before the confession came, Niemi vehemently denied killing Watson, hundreds of times on different occasions. The jury watched on video how both the undercover friend and the boss continued to ask Niemi if he did it, despite his repeated denials.
“C’mon, if you did it, just say so,” they would urge. “We’re gonna make big money.”
In one conversation alone, Stern counted Niemi denying the murder 60 times, as he became frustrated and angered.
“I didn’t f----ing do it!” he would say. “I’m tired of this ... I wanna go home.”
Niemi admitted he was a prime suspect in the murder and that he was being “harassed by police,” but he insisted it was only because his father, who died while in prison, was convicted of a murder years ago.
Another time, frustrated with the constant questions, Niemi told his friend, “Maybe I should just tell the boss I did it and that will make him happy.”
Near the end of the undercover operation, the boss told Niemi, “I’m gonna have to cut you loose,” explaining he couldn’t have a murder suspect in his organization.
Two days later, Niemi returned with his final confession and the detailed letter. To celebrate, the boss asked Niemi to go out to his vehicle to get a box of cigars. “Let’s celebrate,” the boss said.
The second Niemi left the hotel room, he was arrested by a waiting tactical team.
Closing arguments will be held next week and a jury will begin deliberations by the end of the week.