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Jury hears confession to murder

Tracy McLaughlin

By Tracy McLaughlin, Special to QMI AGENCY

WARNING: This article contains graphic information. Reader discretion is advised.

After hours of pushing and prodding by an undercover boss to get Roy Niemi to confess to a murder, he finally admitted to it while he was secretly video taped, a jury heard Friday.

The video, which was played on a large screen to the jury, shows Niemi sitting in a Toronto hotel room with an undercover police officer who was posing as the crime boss of a lucrative criminal organization.

Niemi, 34, is on trial for the murder of Alyssa Watson, 20, of Orillia, who was found strangled and mutilated in the bushes off the Lightfoot trail in Orillia Aug. 19, 2006.

The jury has heard how the crime boss and other undercover officers worked for months to befriend and gain the trust of Niemi, promising him big money by becoming a member of “the family.”

But first, the boss man said he needed to get the heat off of Niemi, who was a murder suspect at the time. Dozens, even hundreds of times, Niemi insisted he knew nothing about the murder, but the boss persisted over several days.

“I really want you in the family,” said the boss. “You do good work. And you’re going to make a bajillion times more money than you make on welfare… but first we gotta take care of this little problem — I can’t have you in with this hanging over our heads.”

For some time, Niemi insisted he did not kill Watson, although he told the boss he would kill for him.

“If you needed it done, I would do it,” he said.

But the boss persisted on the Watson murder and promised he had a guy doing life in prison who would take the blame, but first he needed every detail of how it was done. He promised Niemi would never have to worry again.

Finally, Niemi unwillingly and indirectly admitted to the killing.

“Well, as long as I don’t have to worry about it,” he said.

In court, the jury watched as Niemi appeared to be upset as he sat in the hotel room but the boss slapped him on the shoulder and praised him.

“Why didn’t you tell us before?” he asked.

“Because I was ashamed,” Niemi said. “Guys are different, but girls are like gods, man.”

Niemi told the boss he was paid $10,000 to kill her because an anonymous person was angry with her for stealing cocaine — a story that has not been backed up.

But the confession was not enough for the fictitious boss, who insisted his guy in prison needed details before he took the blame.

Slowly, Niemi began his account of how he met up with Watson, a friend of his who he was intimate with once, and they walked down by the waterfront.

“We smoked a couple of dubes,” he said.

“I took a whiskey bottle and went behind her and hit her. She said ‘what the f---.’ So that didn’t work so then I tried to choke her.”

On the video, Niemi stood to show the boss how he wrapped his arm around her neck to choke her.

“She slid down to the ground.” He said he then strangled her with her purse straps just to make sure.

Earlier in court, the jury was shown a photograph of Watson’s neck — her throat had been cut but there were also two red marks showing ligature strangulation that the pathologist said could have been from a purse strap.

“What happened then?” asked the boss.

“I’m trying to remember,” said Niemi. “I’ve spent years trying to forget.”

Sitting alone in court, the mother of the murdered woman bowed her head and listened to the account of her daughter’s last moments.

To this point, he has insisted he did not use a knife or cut Watson and there was no mention that Watson’s throat was cut and that she had been cut from her throat, down her chest to her groin.

The trial is ahead of schedule and the Crown expects to wrap up its case Tuesday or Wednesday.

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