Ex-Fiance Accused of Killing Slain Ballerina
Authorities found the body of Jenni-Lyn Watson on Saturday. Watson, a 20-year-old ballerina at Mercyhurst College, went home to Liverpool, N.Y. for her Thanksgiving break and was missing since Nov. 19. Now, her ex-fiancé is accused of her murder.
Twenty-one-year-old Steven Pieper, also from Liverpool, had a year-long engagement with Watson and was arrested late afternoon on Saturday. He is charged with second-degree murder.
One of Watson’s closest friends, Mallory Otis, spoke with Pieper after she heard her friend had gone missing.
“The sound of his voice just shocked me,” Otis said. “I was hoping I was wrong. That he would sound upset, and be crying when I called. He acted like nothing in the world had happened.”
After talking to him, Otis said she suspected that Pieper had something to do with Watson’s disappearance.
“He said, ‘Yeah, I’m totally devastated.’ In the calmest voice I ever heard,” she said.
Karista Lewis, a junior at State University College at Geneseo, went to high school with Watson and Pieper and was good friends with both of them.
“It wasn’t a physically abusive relationship,” Lewis said. “It was mentally abusive.” She recalled how controlling Pieper could be. “After they started dating, he kind of consumed her,” she said. “I don’t know how else to put it. He wasn’t very willing to let her talk to friends. He was kind of controlling in that he wanted her all to himself.”
Watson’s friends never thought the relationship would end in violence, but because of her ex-fiancé’s jealous behavior and the suspicions surrounding her death, they now wonder if Pieper is to blame.
Authorities said they found Watson’s body covered with vegetation in a swampy, wooded area in Clay, N.Y. They said her body had been dumped “like garbage.” Her funeral will be held on Wednesday.
Via Syracuse.com image via CBSnews.com