BUNNELL, Fla. – A Flagler County man accused of strangling his landlord to death was convicted of second-degree murder, state attorneys said Thursday.
Erick Niemi, 43, was convicted by a Flagler County jury after a three-day trial.
State attorneys said the 12-person jury, comprised of 10 women and two men, deliberated for just under three hours before returning the guilty verdict.
The fatal strangling happened around 8 p.m. May 29, 2013, in Flagler County, according to the arrest affidavit.
Niemi admitted to police after being arrested June 2, 2013, he had gotten into a verbal argument with Leonard Leon Lynn. Niemi said he was angry with how Lynn had been treating him, according to the affidavit.
Evidence at the trial showed Niemi then tripped Lynn to the ground, straddled him, beat him and ultimately strangled him to death, state attorneys said.
Medical evidence demonstrated Niemi used enough force to break a bone in Lynn's neck, authorities said.
Niemi took the stand in his own defense and said he didn't mean to kill Lynn. State attorneys said further evidence showed Niemi also stole Lynn's vehicle and his credit card and used both.
A sentencing hearing has been set for Dec. 8 at 1 p.m.