Two defendants plead guilty for role in murder caseTwo people implicated in the murder case of Floodwood’s Cristyna Leah Watson, whose body was discovered Oct. 4, 2012, outside a home on Reservation Road in Cloquet, made appearances in Carlton County Court last week.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Two people implicated in the murder case of Floodwood’s Cristyna Leah Watson, whose body was discovered Oct. 4, 2012, outside a home on Reservation Road in Cloquet, made appearances in Carlton County Court last week.
Alyssa Rae Peterson, 25, of Cloquet was sentenced on June 12 to five years in prison by Judge Dale Wolf for aiding an offender after the fact and an unrelated probation violation. Peterson pleaded guilty to both charges on April 10. She was given credit for the 194 days she has already served in local confinement.
Wolf stayed Peterson’s prison sentence for five years and imposed five years of supervised probation. Other terms of the sentence included paying restitution, abstaining from use or possession of alcohol or controlled substances, submitting to random searches and refraining from any contact with the victim’s family or her co-defendants in the case. She was also ordered to pay $210 in court fees.
Peterson’s former boyfriend, Michael William Siewert, 23, pleaded guilty in Carlton County Court on May 28 to intentional second-degree murder in the slaying of Watson in September. He also pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree assault in an unrelated case. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison on the first charge, and the 54-month sentence he received for pleading guilty to the assault with the firearm will be served at the same time as the murder sentence.
Another defendant in the case, Cloquet’s Clifford James Thompson, 57, appeared in court last Friday for a plea hearing on charges of aiding an offender to avoid arrest in the same incident. Thompson entered an Alford plea in Carlton County Court, maintaining his innocence but admitting that enough evidence exists to find him guilty in a court of law. Thompson then waived his right to a jury trial and sentencing was set for July 24. Judge Wolf ordered a pre-sentence investigation and then entered an order for Thompson’s release, since he has already served out the jail time required under state statute for that offense.
Second-degree murder charges against a juvenile also allegedly implicated in the same crime were dropped in December.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, Peterson was in a romantic relationship with Siewert — whom authorities have identified as a gang member of the Native Mob — at the time of the murder. Cloquet police were investigating drug trafficking on Oct. 2 when Peterson said she had information regarding Native Mob gang activity and serious crimes in connection with Watson’s disappearance and disposal of her body at 213 Reservation Road, where Thompson lived.
Siewert was accused of taking Watson’s cell phone and her 2005 gray Pontiac Grand Prix, which he drove to the Twin Cities and sold to another party in exchange for controlled substances, the complaint alleges. A search warrant filed in the case states Peterson told investigators that Siewert traded Watson’s car to a woman in the Twin Cities for two ounces of methamphetamine.
After receiving information from Peterson and other witnesses, law enforcement executed numerous search warrants. Using cadaver dogs, the victim’s body was found at Thompson’s residence, where Siewert had been staying temporarily.
During the investigation, according to the complaint, Peterson also informed investigators of the actions that she took to assist Siewert in concealing evidence of the crime and assisting him from being apprehended by law enforcement officials for killing Watson. Peterson confirmed she had been in Watson’s vehicle and in possession of Watson’s cell phone after she was killed.