Jimmy Rodgers trial: The State rests its case, defense makes motion for acquittal: Day 7

The Teresa Sievers murder trial continued Friday with the defense questioning the confessed co-conspirator, Curtis Wayne Wright, about his account of the day Dr. Sievers was killed.

He says, together with Rodgers, they killed Dr. Sievers by hitting her in the head repeatedly with a hammer.

Wright also said the whole plan was Mark Sievers’ idea, including where and when to murder his wife, Teresa.

Wright has taken a plea deal for the murder.

The first question from defense out of the gate Friday to Wright was, “Is it fair to say you have a lot at stake today?” pointing out Wright’s plea deal in the murder of Teresa. He said his charges are no different than his co-defendants. Wright not missing a beat said, “the difference is I’m telling the truth.”

On the stand, Wright admits he lied when officers first showed him this video of what looks like him and Rodgers in a Lee County Walmart. He initially told detectives “that’s not me, I was in Missouri” at the time of Teresa Sievers’ murder.

The defense also took the opportunity to point out memory issues Wright has admitted to.

Wright says on the stand he has some short term memory loss and Lyme disease.

Referring to an alleged conversation with Mark Sievers before the murder, Wright said, “I struggled for a couple of weeks before I committed.”

DEFENSE: “You struggled with calling the police, or a psychiatrist, or his wife?”

WRIGHT: “I struggled with whether or not I would help him.”

Wright testified he doesn’t consider himself a “hitman”. He said “hitmen” are professionals who only kill for money.

In another chilling exchange, the defense wraps up with questions about Wright going to Teresa Sievers’ funeral in 2015.

DEFENSE: “Did you see her children there?”

WRIGHT: “Yes.”

DEFENSE: “Give them a hug?”

WRIGHT: “Yes.”

DEFENSE: “Tell them you murdered their mother?”

WRIGHT: “No.”

Wright was asked, “Did you expect detectives Downs and Lebid to knock on your door to talk about his case?”

His reply,No, at least not that soon.”

After two days and nearly 5 combined hours, Curtis Wayne Wright’s testimony has wrapped up at 11:45 p.m

WARNING: This video may include graphic content that may be disturbing to some viewers.  NOTE: During a court recess, you will see a state of Florida seal.

DAY 7, PART 1

DAY 7, PART 2

After lunch, the state called Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Coyne.

Instead of posting pictures of the graphic crime scene on the projector, the State asked he show them directly to the jury.

Teresa Sievers’ mother was in the back of the courtroom, but her sister was not there.

Coyne began by saying it was the injuries that first came to his attention: “Multiple blunt traumatic injuries of the head as well as bruises on arms and legs.”

At this point, Teresa’s mother left the courtroom.

Photos of Seivers’ autopsy show lacerations on her head and a broken nose. Coyne said one of her injuries was so serious that it’s more commonly seen in car accident victims and is often fatal.

Coyne went on to say that he determined her cause of death to be blunt force trauma. He said there were 17 impact wounds.

After the State’s final witness left the stand, the state rested its case against Jimmy Rodgers around 3 p.m. The defense is now making a motion for judgment of acquittal, arguing insufficient evidence.

“There are no fingerprints, no DNA, cell phone records, bank statements that directly connect Jimmy Ray Rodgers with planning or participating in the murder,” the defense said.

In response, the state said, “There is no evidence before the court that Mr. Rodgers drove down here simply to assist in the driving… no evidence that Mr. Rodgers was intimidated…”

Reporter:Brooke Shafer
Brea Hollingsworth
Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know.
SHARE