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Grand Jury Charges Erick Niemi With 1st Degree Murder in Leonard Lynn Murder

| June 18, 2013

Erick Niemi

Erick Niemi

Eric Niemi, the 42-year-old Palm Coast resident accused of beating his roommate to death in the men’s Ryken Lane home on May 29, now faces a first degree murder charge, making him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

Leonard Lynn, 76, was found dead in his bedroom on June 1.

Niemi was charged with second degree murder when the Flagler County Sheriff booked him on June 2. But on Tuesday, a Flagler County grand jury upped the charge to first degree murder.

Niemi had confessed during the night of June 1 to June 2 to the killing. That was three days after he had allegedly committed it. For three days, Niemi continued to walk in and out of the house he had shared with Lynn, until Lynn’s son and daughter-in-law became concerned, called on Lynn, and were faced with locked doors inside the house. They summoned police and paramedics, who found Lynn’s body. Lynn had been killed elsewhere in the house and dragged into the master bedroom, where Niemi apparently left him, with a pillow covering Lynn’s face, as Niemi went about his days subsequently.

The two men had been arguing, according to the way Niemi described the events that led to the killing, with Niemi objecting to Lynn’s rules in the house.

The last Flagler County individual to be sentenced to death is William Gregory, who murdered Skyler Meekins, 17, and Daniel Dyer, 22, by shooting them in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun as they slept together in Meekins’s grandparents’ house south of Flagler Beach on Aug. 21, 2007.

“I felt very sad that that is the prospect for him of facing the death penalty,” Beth Gardner the pastor at Bunnell’s First United Methodist Church, where Niemi and Lynn were both a frequent presence, said, “and I don’t support the death penalty. It becomes personal with Eric, but in any situation I don’t support it.”

Gardner had seen Lynn the evening he was murdered: he had been at the church’s Wednesday meal for community members, though that evening Niemi had not come along. When she talked to her congregation after the murder, Gardner conveyed what Niemi’s sister had told her, that Niemi was diagnosed as mentally disabled when he was 7. The extent of his disability is not clear. But that may play into his fate, should he be convicted: it is illegal to execute the mentally ill.

Gardner had attended a service for Lynn in Jacksonville. “I just can’t imagine from some of the things that were said at the service that they would in some way support Eric receiving the death penalty,”  she said.

Niemi is being held at the Flagler County jail without bond.

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3 Responses for “Grand Jury Charges Erick Niemi With 1st Degree Murder in Leonard Lynn Murder”

  1. Geezer says:

    Eric Niemi will have many years to ponder the many false starts that the cardboard industry experienced
    in those tumultuous seminal years. There will be time to count all the pores on his body, time to befriend
    bedbugs and the many “good bacteria” that populate the digestive tract. So much time to wonder about life’s mysteries. So much time to regret his homicidal tendencies. The death penalty would deprive him of these joys, and the wonderful bonding opportunities with like-minded fellow birds-of-a-feather.

    Florida jails are so homey, and with sumptuous luxurious appointments including corinthian leather recliners and a full service kitchen serving up luscious gourmet dishes under the guidance of persnickety, and fastidious chefs. I hear that the book club is wonderful, featuring a-la-cart service offering hollowed-out masterworks from Cervantes to Shakespeare.

    Not having the freedom to bask in the Florida sun for hours on end will result in supple skin through his seventies. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t become a snob breathing the rarified air that only a Florida penal institution can provide.

    You’ve arrived, Eric Niemi!

  2. maryann says:

    Death at the “hands” of someone WITHOUT a gun! Proof that if a sick individual wants you dead, that’s what happens. The mind is a lethal weapon.

    Where are all the anti-gun preachers now?

    • Thomas says:

      What would you do if you were threatened over and over again. In the case of the Leonard Lynn murder I guarantee you that is what happened. You reap what you sow.

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