Trial date set for Teresa Sievers murder case
Mark Sievers, who is charged with first-degree murder in what investigators described as a murder-for-hire plot to kill his wife, was in court this morning as a date was set for the beginning of his trial.
The judge set the trial date for Sievers to be on June 3, in what attorneys estimate will be a 4-week trial.
Sievers was arrested following the murder of his wife after months of suspicion, which grew to speculation and boiled into anticipation after his wife was found dead in the kitchen at their home.
In addition, Sievers’ best friend, Curtis Wayne Wright, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is serving 25 years in prison as part of a substantial assistance plea, meaning he will help prosecutors with their case against Mark Sievers.
Teresa Sievers, 46, was found dead on June 29, 2015. Along with Wright, 47, Jimmy Ray Rodgers was arrested in connection with the killing. Rodgers, 25, was brought to Lee County on Tuesday after serving six months in federal prison for a probation violation in an unrelated gun case.
Mark Sievers’ arrest seemed imminent after thousands of pages of court documents released over the past few months detailed authorities’ suspicions that he planned and helped execute the murder-for-hire plot.
“This murder was committed in expectation of Wright getting paid an undisclosed amount of money from Mark Sievers and then in turn, he was to pay Rodgers $10,000 for his involvement,” Lee County Sheriff’s Office detectives said in court documents.
Their case, as detailed in the documents, is built around multiple factors:
- Mark Sievers asked his mother-in-law to leave the home alarm deactivated hours before his wife arrived.
- Neighbors said the couple argued loudly. Mark and Teresa Sievers were involved in “numerous affairs” and both were considering divorce.
- Mark Sievers stopped cooperating with investigators when they asked for DNA samples from him.
- GPS data from a vehicle Rodgers rented showed a route from Wright’s residence to his Missouri home, then a direct route to the Sievers residence. Multiple deleted GPS searches originating in the area of the Sievers’ home were also uncovered.
- Surveillance video showed Wright and Rodgers purchasing “suspicious items” at the Walmart on Six Mile Cypress Parkway hours before the killing. Both men previously denied being in Florida.
- Wright and Mark Sievers used “burner” phones and coded language to communicate.
- A sworn statement from Rodgers’ girlfriend claiming he told her that he killed Teresa Sievers for insurance money.
Ice in his veins
Mark Sievers was always in the “envelope of suspicion,” Scott said previously.
“We have no problem arresting people, but we do so when the time is right, particularly in a case like this,” Scott said in December. “There’s a great deal at stake and we want to make sure everything is correct.”
Scott on Friday did not detail what led investigators to arrest Mark Sievers other than the investigation “came to a conclusion” and that detectives have “a total body of work.”
He described the case as the most complicated in his 28 years in law enforcement.
“Our community can take solace knowing that the power of the sheriff’s office was brought to bear on three very dangerous people who gave a great deal, and I want to underscore, a great deal of effort and energy into covering their tracks, into throwing us off on their track,” he said.
Mark Sievers didn’t say much when he was arrested at his home, said Scott, who described his reaction as “stoic.”
“I’m not 100 percent sure he has blood in his veins,” he said. “It may be ice.”