Gory details of Alyssa Watson's murder read before victim's parents
Mark and Amanda Watson leave court Monday after hearing some of the troubling details of how their daughter, Alyssa, was murdered in 2006. Roy Niemi is on trial for the first-degree murder of Alyssa Watson, 20. TRACY MCLAUGHLIN - Special to QMI Agency
WARNING: This article contains graphic information. Reader discretion is advised.
BARRIE — When Orillia resident Nelly Devroon took her dogs for a walk along the nature trail on a beautiful, sunny day six years ago, she didn’t expect to find a murdered woman laying in the bushes as she passed by.
“I thought it was a drunk person,” Devroon said on the witness stand Monday as she testified at the trial of Roy Niemi.
Niemi, 33, of Orillia is now on trial before a jury for the first-degree murder and indignity to the body of Alyssa Watson, 20, of Orillia. The young mother was found strangled and naked near an old railway line and nature trail in Orillia Aug. 16, 2006.
The body was covered with a black sheet and Devroon wasn’t too concerned until she bent to pick up some empty booze bottles and noticed the person didn’t move to bat away a fly that was buzzing around her ear. She quickly headed to her nearby home to get her husband and call police.
In his opening statement to the jury, Crown attorney Ray Williams told how Watson’s sister was the last person to see her alive when she dropped her sister off at a local variety store because she planned to meet Niemi, a friend, that night.
“That was the last time she was seen alive,” said Williams, who said the body was found the next day.
“She was a daughter, a sister, a mother and a friend.”
The jury sat silently as Williams told the troubling details of how Watson’s body was found not only strangled, but butchered.
“She had been strangled, her pants were off, her panties were down and she had been mutilated – carved up,” said the Crown.
Williams described an elaborate undercover police scheme in which Niemi eventually confessed to the murder and the horrific details.
“You will hear and see the details of how he did this from his own lips,” Williams said, explaining the confession was caught by undercover cops on secret videotape.
Williams described how Niemi was befriended and lured into a fake criminal organization in a scheme that was “just like something out of the movies.” In the scheme, a police officer with long hair was enrolled as a student at the adult learning centre where Niemi was a student. Over time, he managed to befriend Niemi, and the two became partners in cash deals for the criminal organization. Eventually, court heard, Niemi was introduced to the big boss, who pretended he had the means to help Niemi, who was a murder suspect. At first, Niemi denied involvement and the operation was shut down.
“He was pushed and pushed and questioned, but it didn’t get anywhere — Mr. Niemi always denied responsibility in the murder.” said the Crown. “But police didn’t give up.”
About a year later, the entire bogus operation was tried again, but police set up a new boss who had a better relationship with Niemi. The boss pretended he took a liking to Niemi and convinced Niemi he could get a man who was already in prison to take the blame for the murder.
“But there is a catch,” said the Crown. “They said they needed details.”
Williams explained how police deliberately withheld the details of Watson’s mutilation from the public and from the media.
“Only Mr. Niemi had those details,” said the Crown.
He said Niemi was secretly videotaped as he told the boss specific details of Watson’s injuries. The video will be played to the jury later in the trial.
“You will be able to see and hear what he did,” said Williams.
Indeed, on the witness stand, Devroon insisted she did not see that Watson’s throat was slashed or that she had a large incision that ran down the entire middle of her body because Watson had been covered when she saw her.
“I did not see any of that,” she testified.
Outside of court, the murdered woman’s mother and father said they were troubled to hear how Watson died.
“She was an angel. She always made me laugh,” said her mother, Amanda Watson. “She had some issues, for sure, and she got mixed up with the wrong people — but she did not deserve this.”
Her father, Mark Watson, a news reporter from Alberta, said he made the trip to Ontario to watch the trial to be a voice for his daughter.
“She can’t speak for herself. This is the only thing I can do for her now,” he said. “And besides, we need to know what happened.”
The trial is expected to last about two months.