Jurors watch police interrogation video at Peacemaker murder trial

February 28, 2024
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–The jury hearing the Jeremiah Peacemaker (pictured) murder trial in Watertown spent much of Tuesday watching an interrogation video of the defendant.

Peacemaker is charged with First Degree Murder in the August 2020 death of 28 year-old Kendra Owen.

Hours after Owen was found decapitated in her Watertown apartment, Peacemaker volunteered to come to the police department for questioning.

Peacemaker never mentions Owen by name in the police interview, instead referring to her as the “pink haired girl,” or “that native girl.”

He admitted meeting Owen one evening at his neighbors apartment, and later that same evening, walking to Doc’s Bar with her to buy beer.

Peacemaker says he bought a six pack of “tall boys,” and then went home alone and drank a few beers.

Then he said he felt like he needed to go out for a walk and headed toward the downtown area where he ran into Owen again.

He told then Watertown Police Detective Sergeant Chad Stahl that he walked Owen to her apartment at 307 1/2 North Broadway, and was there for about 20 minutes, sitting on her bed listening to music and talking to Owen.

Peacemaker said, “for me, it was just company.” He told Stahl there were no sexual advances made by either person.

When asked by Stahl if Peacemaker ever touched Owen, Peacemaker said he didn’t think so, although he said at one point Owen tried to “high five” him.

He says he briefly used her bathroom, and then left. The bathroom is where crime scene investigators believe they found a bloody fingerprint on a tube of Crest toothpaste.

At one point during the interrogation, Stahl asked Peacemaker if he’s ever killed anyone. Peacameker said he had not. Then Peacemaker says to Stahl, “this is shocking right now that you (Stahl) think I left her dead.”

When shown a photo of Owen’s dead body, Peacemaker called it gruesome, and went on to say , “I don’t beat women up, I don’t hit women. I don’t even hurt animals.”

Stahl mentioned several times during the interrogation that Peacemaker was the last person to be with Owen while she was still alive.

Peacemaker told Stahl that he had previously experienced blackout episodes when he drank heavily, but that it didn’t happen the night he was with Owen.

Later in the interrogation, Peacemaker was aggressively questioned by former DCI agent Cam Corey. Corey can be seen on the video saying, “You sat there and lied to him (Stahl), just like you’re lying to me.”

He then called Peacemaker a, “violent dude,” and that Peacemaker needed to, “reconcile with your Lord what happened.”

Jurors were provided written transcripts of the hours long interrogation.

Earlier Tuesday, DCI Special Agent Shane Hardie testified that the last incoming and outgoing calls on Owen’s cell phone occurred during the early evening hours of August 23rd. The last outgoing text message from her phone was sent at 3:27 a.m. on August 24th.

Hardie said between August 24th and September 3rd, there were 18 unanswered calls on Owen’s phone.

Prosecutors believe Owen had been dead for more than a week before her decomposing, headless body was found on the night of September 2, 2020.

The trial went into recess just before 5 p.m. and will resume this morning with forensic pathologists for both sides scheduled to testify this afternoon.