Mark Sievers trial: Testimony continues following emotional day: Day 3

It has been another emotional day of testimony both from the man who confessed to killing Teresa Sievers and the people who knew her.

Mark Sievers, again, visibly upset in court as his former best friend, Wayne Wright, described how he and Jimmy Rodgers killed his wife.

The defense pointed to the multiple times Wright lied to law enforcement throughout the investigation. But Wright stood by his testimony that the idea for Teresa’s murder came from her husband, Mark.

Teresa’s sister also took the stand, showing jurors a photo of her sister.

But the difficult testimony was far from over. After lunch, Teresa’s friend, the man who found her beaten body, took the stand.

Dr. Mark Petrites testified that he went to the Sievers’ home after a call from Mark saying Teresa hadn’t shown up to work.

He also testified that he told Mark something terrible had happened and that Teresa was hurt.

He said during that phone call, Mark didn’t ask how his wife was hurt or where she was being taken. He testified that Mark only asked if there had been a robbery.

Court wrapped up for the weekend around 5:40 p.m. after hearing from a crime scene technician.

The trial will continue Monday at 8:30 a.m.

Scroll down for more details from witness testimonies. 


WATCH THE FULL DAY OF TESTIMONY FROM THE COURTROOM

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.

Part 1

Part 2


Witness #5: Curtis Wayne Wright

After an emotional testimony on Thursday, Wright is now being cross-examined by the Defense.

After a series of questions from Defense Attorney Michael Mummert, Wright admitted that he first denied that Mark had hired him to kill Teresa.

As Wright continued to answer Mummert’s questions with “I don’t remember,” Mummert said: If you forget everything, do you think the State is still going to offer you that deal?

As a reminder, Wright took a plea deal from the State of 25 years in exchange for his testimony against Jimmy Rodgers and Mark Sievers, his former best friend.

The Defense asked about Wright’s sexual preferences in connection with Mark, but that was quickly objected to by the State.

Mummert also asked Wright if he recalled Mark asking him about a possible affair. Wright said he never said Teresa was having an affair, just that Mark told him he was concerned she’d take the kids if she left.

Wright said he never planned to carry a gun across state lines because he is a five-time convicted felon. “I don’t feel comfortable using one,” he said.

Wright did say it crossed his mind that he and Rodgers would be caught on surveillance cameras when stopping at places like gas stations and Walmart. He also testified that he was “more than a little concerned” that Rodgers brought a cell phone on the trip when he’d told him not to.

As Wright went on to describe the murder, he testified it was Mark’s idea.

For the most part, Mark only looks down at his notebook throughout the trial, but as Wright described cleaning up after the murder, Mark looked up at him.

When Wright was asked if he manipulated four of his neighbors into signing false affidavits for law enforcement after Teresa’s murder, he quietly answered, “yes.” He says he did it to protect himself, Mark and Jimmy.

Wright said he and Jimmy never discussed how they were planning to avoid detention, the events that occurred or made sure they had their story straight.

Mummert said that Wright mentioned Thursday that Rodgers found the hammer and made a crude joke about Teresa’s destiny. When asked what he did when he said that, Wright said he just ignored him.

Moving forward to Teresa’s funeral, Wright said he tried to talk to Mark about the details of what happened but he said the conversation never happened; that Mark didn’t want to talk about it.

Somewhat borrowing a moment from Rodgers’ defense team last month, Mummert asked Wright about seeing Teresa’s family at the funeral. “When you saw her kids, did you tell them, ‘I’m really sorry I murdered your mother?'”

After about two hours, the Defense finished their cross-examination of Wright and the State went on to ask a few more questions.


Witness #6: Ann Lisa, Teresa Sievers’ sister

The next witness called to the stand was Teresa’s sister, Ann. She said plans for the trip to New York for their mother’s birthday had been made back in February or March of that year.

She said following the festivities, Teresa was set to return home to Fort Myers and Mark and their two daughters were to return to Connecticut for a few days so the girls could visit with their cousins.

Ann is handed a picture of Teresa, which she holds up. She went on to say Teresa was 46 years old at the time of her death in 2015. Today, she would have just turned 51 the day the jury was sworn in.

Cross-examination by the Defense

The Defense only had a few questions for Ann just before the court broke for lunch. Ann said she and her sister were very close and described her as her “soulmate.”


Witness #7: Mark Petrites, M.D., Retired Surgeon

Following lunch, court resumed and called Dr. Mark Petrites to the stand. He is the one who found Teresa’s body.

State Attorney Hamid Hunter began questioning by asking Petrites if he knew Teresa. Petrites said he met her in his surgical residency program in Baltimore, Maryland around 1995. She was a medical student who helped him with his surgical rotations. Petrites said the two worked together for about three to four months. Then they reconnected in 2007.

Petrites said they two became like family friends, attending birthday parties and seeing each other on holidays. They also maintained a professional relationship, with Teresa referring patients to him at times and he did the same for her.

Petrites also said Teresa was close friends with his wife until the day she died.

He said he and his wife were much closer to Teresa than they were with Mark. He said they didn’t really hang out together unless they were all together.

Hunter then moved on to the day of the murder. He asked Petrites about a phone call he recieved.

Petrites said he left his phone in his car and when he returned he had a voicemail from Mark asking him to check on Teresa. He said she hadn’t shown up for work that morning, which was unlike her and he was worried.

He said he headed toward the Sievers’ home and returned Mark’s call, speaking with him on the way there.

Petrites said when he arrived at the home, he pounded on the door, but there was no answer. He then went to the garage door and entered the code Mark had given him over the phone to get in.

He said when he opened the door, one of the Sievers’ two dogs ran out into the driveway. He tried to shoo it back inside, he said, but he didn’t know where the dog went.

Petrites said he then began walking into the laundry room, calling Teresa’s name as to alert her of his presence and avoid startling her. He said after he took a couple steps into the home, it was obvious where she was.

Hunter asked how he knew Teresa was dead. Petrites said there was a lot of blood, she had a massive head wound and she was cold and lifeless. He said he touched her body to check her vitals. He said she had been dead for a while before he arrived.

Petrites then yelled into the house because he didn’t know if the Sievers’ daughters were home, then called Mark directly to ask him where the girls were before calling 911.

He said Mark told him the girls were with him and Petrites told him he needed to come home now and that he’d call him back. Petrites said he didn’t tell Mark why, but Mark also didn’t ask. He didn’t tell Mark what he’d seen in the house.

After he called 911, he called Mark back to talk to him more about what had happened. He was trying to get more information from Mark about where Teresa was coming home from and her flight arrangements. At this point, he still hadn’t told Mark that Teresa was dead.

Petrites said Mark didn’t ask specifically how his wife was hurt, but asked if it was a robbery. He also didn’t ask if she was being taken to the hospital.

Going back to the night before the murder, Petrites said he received a phone call from Mark simply asking how he was doing, which Petrites found to be very odd.

The audio of the voicemail was played in the courtroom. Then the audio of the voicemail Mark left for Petrites to check on Teresa.

Hunter goes on to ask Petrites about his relationship with Wright. He said he knew him from hearing Mark speak of him as his best friend and from doing some IT work at Teresa’s medical practice.

After Wright was arrested in Teresa’s murder, he asked Mark if he was angry with Wright, to which he told him he didn’t think he did it and that law enforcement was just picking off his friends to get to him, which he didn’t understand. Petrites said he found it odd that he wouldn’t be mad if someone was arrested for killing your wife.

Petrites also said Mark told him he wanted the jail to give Wright access to the computer so he could get into Teresa’s computer system, which he found to be very bizarre.

Cross-examination by the Defense

The Defense asked Petrites several questions about the crime scene and reiterated some things about his wife’s relationship with Teresa.

Mummert asked why Petrites waited to tell the State attorney about Mark wanting Wright to have access to Teresa’s computers, to which he replied that it didn’t come up and he didn’t realize the relevance of the incident.


Witness #8: Adam Hughes, Lt. Paramedic at Bonita Springs Fire Rescue District

Next on the stand is Adam Hughes, a paramedic who responded to the Sievers’ home when Teresa’s body was found.

Hughes said they were only in the home briefly. He saw Teresa on the ground with “injuries that were incompatible with life,” he said. They did not attempt any life-saving measures at that point.


Witness #9: John Armato, LCSO Detective with the Major Crimes Unit back in 2015

After a quick testimony from the paramedic, former LCSO Detective John Armato was called to the stand.

He said he took a DNA swab of Sievers’ mother, who had checked on their dogs while the family had been away up north. She is not a suspect, but Armado said taking her swab is standard for “elimination.”


Witness #10: Lt. Michael J. Downs, Jr., LCSO Detective with the Homicide Unit

The next witness called was Lt. Michael Downs, who responded to the crime scene the day of the murder.

He is one of the detectives that traveled to Missouri and executed the search warrant on Wright’s home in 2015.

Downs also said there were additional search warrants executed: a bodily search warrant on Wright and also a search warrant on Mark’s condo in Festus, Missouri.

They also spoke to Rodgers at his home, as well as his live-in girlfriend at the time, Taylor Shomaker.

Once the Garmin GPS came back from processing and showed it was synced with a device with Rodgers’ email address, Downs said it became apparent that he was involved more than they initially thought. So they went back to Missouri and obtained a search warrant for his residence.

While the search warrant was executed, Downs said he sad and spoke with Shomaker outside. She spoke to him about potential evidence. She pointed out four specific items including a plaque hanging in the kitchen, a Budweiser T-shirt, a white cooler and a black backpack.

She was also able to take them to the blue jumpsuit, in a rural area about half an hour away from their residence. She also led them to the cell phone that was discarded.

Also while in Missouri, Downs spoke to Rodgers’ supervisor, who informed them of the type of coveralls and gloves used at the Doe Run facility. Examples of these were shown to the jury.

In October, he returned again to Missouri, this time to transport Rodgers back to Lee County.

Cross-examination by the Defense

Mummert asked Downs if Rodgers was still living with Shomaker when he was transported, to which he replied “yes.” When asked why, Downs said he believed Shomaker was in fear and that she never changed addresses.

He went on to ask Downs the significance of the four items Shomaker pointed out to them during the search warrant of Rodgers home. He said the plaque was purchased by Rodgers for her from his trip to Florida. The Budweiser T-shirt resembles an item that was bought in Walmart in Lee County off Six Mile Cypress where Rodgers is seen on surveillance where the shirt was purchased. Downs said the cooler was with Rodgers during the trip and the black backpack is relevant because the blue jumpsuit was potentially inside.


Witness #11: Christine Rose, LCSO Crime Scene Technician

As testimony from Downs wraps up, the State calls Crime Scene Technician Christine Rose to the stand. She responded to the crime scene on July 1 to perform a line search. She had a group of cadets walk in a big line and search for evidence.

Rose said about 30 people participated in that search, which took a little over two hours to complete.

She went on to answer multiple questions about collecting samples and evidence from a vehicle that had been taken into custody, the rental Hyundai Elantra said to have been the rental car used by Wright and Rodgers to drive to Florida. Rose said she had to go to Phoenix, Arizona to do so.

The State did not question Rose, and testimony wrapped up for the day.

CONTINUING COVERAGE

Reporter:Brooke Shafer
Morgan Rynor
Writer:Briana Harvath
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