DA's Office releases video of deputy pulling over Steven Pieper

Steven Pieper in court / file photo

We have an update in the case of Jenni-Lyn Watson, a 20-year-old college student and aspiring dancer from Clay who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend last fall.

On Wednesday, the Onondaga County District Attorney TMs Office released dashboard camera video of a sheriff TMs deputy pulling Steven Pieper TMs vehicle over shortly after Watson was killed on November 19. In the video, Deputy Sean Andrews can be seen talking with Pieper after stopping him for not having a front license plate. Officials later learned that Watson TMs body was in the trunk of Pieper TMs car during this traffic stop. Andrews later recalled that Pieper seemed overly cooperative and nervous at the time.

The District Attorney TMs Office said previously that after the traffic stop Pieper decided he had to dispose of Watson TMs body. That TMs when he hid her in a wooded area of Clay Central Park. D.A. Bill Fitzpatrick said at the time that it was actually better that Andrews did not find Watson TMs body during the stop, because any improper search or seizure of Pieper TMs car could have muddied the prosecution TMs case against the defendant.

The 21-year-old Pieper pleaded guilty on February 15 to second degree murder, and admitted to strangling and suffocating Watson at her parents TM home. Watson had returned home from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving the day before she was killed. She was studying to become a ballet dancer. Her body was found on November 27 after a weeklong search that gained national attention.

Pieper was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison on March 8.

This is not the first instance of Deputy Andrews gaining notoriety for appearing in a police dashcam video. On January 31, 2009 he pulled over Audra Harmon for allegedly speeding and talking on her cell phone while driving. During the stop, Andrews removed Harmon from her minivan and fired a Taser on her after alleging she resisted arrest. Andrews was suspended without pay for the incident, and Harmon won a $75,000 settlement from the sheriff TMs office.