Jimmy Ray Rodgers, one among three males accused within the 2015 bludgeoning loss of life of Bonita Springs physician Teresa Sievers, appeared to swallow particularly arduous Wednesday as he heard he was discovered responsible of second-degree homicide.
Rodgers faces as much as life in jail when he’s sentenced in entrance of Lee Circuit Choose Bruce Kyle at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 18.
Rodgers, 29, not faces the loss of life penalty however might be sentenced to life in jail. He was initially charged with first-degree homicide, nonetheless the jury on the Lee County Justice Heart convicted him of the lesser cost of second-degree homicide.
In addition they discovered him responsible of trespassing, a lesser cost of first-degree housebreaking whereas armed, and never responsible of conspiracy to commit homicide.
Teresa Sievers, 46, was discovered useless, face down on the kitchen flooring of her household’s house at 27034 Jarvis Street on June 29, 2015. Investigators discovered a hammer subsequent to her physique.
Rodgers, the sufferer’s husband Mark Sievers, 51, and her husband’s shut pal Curtis Wayne Wright Jr., 51, had been accused within the killing.
A separate trial for Mark Sievers is scheduled to start at eight:30 a.m. Nov. 12 on the Lee County Justice Heart, in response to courtroom information.
The jury of 5 males and 7 girls deliberated for about 13 hours complete Tuesday and Wednesday earlier than reaching a verdict round 2:10 p.m. Wednesday.
Assistant State Lawyer Cynthia Ross stated the prosecution will ask the decide to condemn Rodgers to life in jail for the second-degree homicide cost.
“We all the time respect a verdict of a jury,” Ross stated outdoors the courtroom Wednesday. “This jury labored very arduous, spent lots of time, paid very shut consideration to all of the proof. We’re going to respect that verdict.”
Rodgers’ protection attorneys didn’t remark to reporters after the decision.
The household of Teresa Sievers sat within the second row of the gallery behind the prosecutor’s desk for majority of the trial.
Teresa Sievers’ brother, Patrick Tottenham, and sister, Ann Lisa, sat on both facet of their mom, Mary Ann Groves, as the decision was learn.
They held arms and took deep, nervous breaths earlier than Rodgers’ destiny was communicated. Afterward, they exited the courtroom and entered an elevator to depart the courthouse with out chatting with reporters.
The Rodgers trial, which started Oct. 1, heard seven days of witness testimony and a full day of closing arguments.
Jurors listened to dramatic testimony from round 30 witnesses known as by the prosecution, together with Rodgers’ ex-girlfriend, investigators from the Lee County Sheriff’s Workplace, analysts from the FBI and Rodgers’ co-defendant Wright.
Rodgers appeared targeted on what witnesses had been saying with out having a lot of a response for a lot of the trial. Throughout breaks within the jury choice course of and between sure witness, he appeared relaxed and smiling at occasions whereas speaking together with his attorneys.
Rodgers declined to take the stand and his protection workforce rested with out calling any witnesses. Earlier than closing arguments started on Monday, protection attorneys twice motioned for a judgment of acquittal from the decide.
Assistant Public Defender Jay Brizel stated there was a scarcity of proof exhibiting Rodgers was truly within the Sievers home on the time of the homicide.
“The state has obtained performed by Curtis Wayne Wright,” Brizel stated. “His story is mindless.”
Brizel cited an announcement from AT&T that got here with telephone information utilized by the state to point out Rodgers’ telephone was in the home in the course of the homicide.
The AT&T assertion learn by Brizel cautioned that location info was lower than actual.
Brizel additionally tried to discredit the testimony of Rodgers’ ex-girlfriend Taylor Shomaker, who he stated was not reliable as a result of she was paid by the Lee County Sheriff’s Workplace as a part of a witness program and might be eligible for $50,000 reward within the case.
The decide denied each of the protection workforce’s motions for a judgment of acquittal on Monday.
Throughout his testimony within the trial on Oct. 17, Wright admitted to his half within the loss of life of Teresa Sievers in change for a 25-year jail sentence.
Assistant State Lawyer Hamid Hunter requested him who killed Teresa Sievers.
“I did and Jimmy Rodgers,” Wright responded. He then spent about three hours detailing the killing in entrance of the jury and was cross examined by the protection the next day.
Mark Sievers first approached Wright with the thought of getting his spouse killed at Wright’s Missouri marriage ceremony in Could 2015, Wright stated.
Rodgers grew to become concerned as a result of Wright requested for assist and did not wish to kill the girl by himself, Wright stated.
Rodgers met Wright whereas they had been incarcerated on the Sainte Genevieve County jail in Missouri in 2010. Wright and Mark Sievers grew up collectively in Missouri and had been childhood buddies.
The Sievers had been having marriage issues and Mark was in concern of dropping his two daughters in a custody battle together with his spouse, Wright testified.
Behind all of it was a life insurance coverage coverage Mark Sievers had taken out on his spouse, Wright testified.
Mark Sievers informed Wright he would pay $100,000 or extra to have his spouse killed and the plan was to share a few of that cash with Rodgers, Wright stated on the witness stand.
Rodgers’ protection attorneys tried to persuade jurors Wright was the only particular person chargeable for Teresa Sievers’ homicide throughout closing arguments this week.
Wright is an evil, mendacity man attempting to pin the blame on others, Assistant Public Defender Donald McFarlane stated.
The state’s proof was incomplete and didn’t present Rodgers presence in Florida was linked to the killing of Teresa Sievers, he stated.
Wright first agreed to a plea cope with the prosecution in February 2016.
The identical day authorities introduced the settlement, they arrested Mark Sievers. The settlement required that Wright present substantial help to the prosecution within the instances towards each of his co-defendants.
Wright’s sentencing is contingent upon him telling the reality in courtroom. He’s anticipated to take the witness stand once more in the course of the trial for Mark Sievers.
Mark Sievers is charged with first-degree homicide and will face the loss of life penalty if convicted. He additionally faces a conspiracy to commit homicide cost.
Shomaker, who lived with Rodgers in Missouri in the course of the summer season of 2015, stated she initiated a dialog with Rodgers concerning the loss of life of Teresa Sievers whereas in mattress.
Rodgers informed her he killed Teresa Sievers with a hammer, she stated from the witness stand on Oct. 16. Shomaker additionally stated Rodgers’ nickname for himself was “Jimmy the hammer.”
The prosecution and protection are anticipated to name witnesses to provide affect statements at Rodgers’ November sentencing listening to.