Mar 11, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Jenni-Lyn Watson’s parents characterized her murderer, Stephen M. Pieper, as a greedy, self-centered young man who ingratiated himself into their family with lies and false promises.
“He lied about the ring he gave her,” said Jenni-Lyn’s father, David Watson. “He lied twice about having cancer. He lied about having a concussion…He lied about why he got fired from Wal-Mart…He lied about everything. He can’t be trusted.”
Jenni-Lyn Watson, a 20-year-old dance student at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., was strangled to death Nov. 19 while spending Thanksgiving break at her parents’ home in Clay. Pieper, her former boyfriend, admitted he killed her and then drove her body to Clay Park Central where it lay hidden for eight days before being discovered by searchers from the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office.
On March 8, Watson’s parents and younger sister spoke at a hearing at the Onondaga County Criminal Courthouse in downtown Syracuse prior to Pieper’s sentencing by Judge Anthony Aloi.
Directly addressing Pieper, who stood shackled 14 feet to her left in Aloi’s courtroom, Jackie Watson, Jenni-Lyn’s mother, said, “Steve, you are the scariest of killers.”
She recalled inviting him to family gatherings, sharing meals, watching TV, playing games and exchanging gifts for a year-and-a-half while he dated Jenni-Lyn before she headed off to college.
David Watson expanded on that theme.
“He’s the scariest killer because of the mask he would wear in our presence to not allow us to see his true self,” the father said at a post-sentencing press conference. “There were times it was laughable, but we never thought he’d go to this ultimate act.”
Lauren Watson, Jenni-Lyn’s 16-year-old sister, labeled Pieper as “a pathetic excuse of a man.”
Selfish jealousy was Pieper’s motive for murder, David Watson said.
“Jenni-Lyn’s friends and her friendships in general were always a problem for Pieper,” the father said in his statement to the court. “He didn’t want to share Jenni-Lyn’s time and feelings with anyone [because] this threatened his greedy, cowardly needs.”
And the lies piled up, one upon another, David Watson said. “Even while claiming to want Jenni-Lyn back [after they’d broken up], he is out carousing with other females.”
On the other hand, his daughter “never said a bad word about Pieper,” her father said. “Jenni-Lyn always looked for the best in people,” and Pieper “took full advantage” of her kind and forgiving nature.
“Instead of learning from Jenni-Lyn, Pieper felt threatened by her because she had goals, plans and visions of how she wanted her life to be…This evil bastard Pieper stepped on, laughed at and trashed all the goodness, happiness and potential of Jenni-Lyn,” her father told those listening in the packed courtroom.
District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick also pointed to Pieper’s pattern of deception. After Jenni-Lyn went missing, the 21-year-old Pieper repeatedly lied to his family, his lawyer, his friends and the police, Fitzpatrick said.
Before Aloi sentenced him to 23 years to life in state prison, the defendant addressed the court as he stood next to his attorney, Scott Brenneck.
In a strong voice, Pieper admitted his guilt, expressed regret and said, “There’s not enough time in this world to fix what I have done.”