It’s a new week, but it continues to be a slow process to select a jury for Jimmy Rodgers’ murder trial in the 2015 death of Teresa Sievers at her family’s Bonita Springs home.
Day five of jury selection in Rodgers’ trial at Lee County court had a slow start Monday.
Questioning of potential jurors didn’t begin until 1 p.m. And questions from both defense and prosecution teams continued to focus on the death penalty. And no potential jurors have been seated.
Judge Bruce Kyle had to deal with separate court matters this morning, and he had to ask several potential jurors to return to court after lunchtime. And Judge Kyle asked another group to head home and return to court Tuesday.
“We’re trying to find the perfect jury,” Judge Kyle said in court. “My apologies. I thought we could get through this docket faster.”
One of those trials included the murder trial for Mark Sievers, who is accused of orchestrating the murder of his wife, Teresa. Mark will go on trial at the conclusion of Rodgers’ trial. Mark appeared briefly in court Monday.
Questions for potential jurors still focused on the possibility of a death penalty in the Rodgers’ sentencing. Rodgers is accused of beating Dr. Sievers to death with a hammer.
Mark’s childhood friend is accused of being hired by Mark to kill Dr. Sievers, accused of then hiring Rodgers to travel from their homes in Missouri to killed her, as she arrived home early from their family trip in Connecticut at the time.
Detectives say Wright agreed to pay Rodgers $10,000 to kill Teresa. Details of these accusation were also confirmed by Rodgers’ girlfriend at the time, who is also the mother of their child.
The defense team for Rodgers said the process for jury selection is taking the correct amount of time needed. There is one more group of potential jurors to be questioned in court Tuesday, focusing on the death penalty. If proceedings continue as planned, phase three of questioning will begin 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Trial is still scheduled to start at the end of the week.
“Normally, the cases that come into this courthouse, we can pick a jury in the morning, try a case in the afternoon, and we’re done by the end of the day,” said. “This is a little bit different because of the nature of the charges.”
After running slightly behind this morning, Judge Kyle is sending 12 people home right now and telling them to come back tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.
When laying out questions for potential jurors, it seems prosecutors are looking for people who will deliberate on the death penalty. The defense it seems is hoping to find people who will stand firm in their opinions and be against talking it out.
In a quick turn, the second potential juror of the day agrees with the death penalty and believes there is “true evil out there.” Defense is still questioning him.
Some of you might be wondering why this part of the Rodgers Trial is taking so long. Before questioning each potential juror, the judge explains this is taking longer because of the nature of the charges. “We’re taking our time to make sure we get the perfect jury,” the judge said.
Our first potential juror of the day was a Catholic mom of six. She is firmly against the death penalty and said she “cannot condemn anyone to death.” With no arguments from the defense, the state asked to send her home. On to the next one.
Jimmy Rodgers is back in the courtroom as we gear up for another afternoon of jury selection. We are on day five of this part of the trial. Questions for the potential jurors still focused on the death penalty.
Court is running behind this morning. Judge Bruce Kyle is still going through other cases. Potential jurors that were asked to show up at 10:30 a.m were sent to lunch and told to come back at 1 p.m.
Mark Sievers walked into the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit. They will return at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning, but they are told to be on standby every day until then in case anything happens in Jimmy Rodgers’ trial.
Monday, potential jurors return to the court room to face some tough questions as they try to narrow down the number to 12 members of the jury.
The questions will focus on the possibility of the death penalty in the case against Jimmy Rodgers, who is one of the men accused of murdering Teresa Sievers in 2015.
Because this is a capital punishment case, they will need the 12 jurors plus alternatives, and the judge is hoping to have that set by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, Teresa Sievers husband, Mark Sievers, 51, who is accused of orchestrating her murder, will have to show up to court every day until Rodger’s anticipated five week trial wraps up. Both Sievers and Rodgers are charged with first-degree murder.
His trial will begin immediately afterward.