Mark Sievers Trial: Defense begins calling on witnesses: Day 8

Today marks a milestone in the four-year quest for justice for murdered doctor, Teresa Sievers.

The defense team for her husband, Mark Sievers, who is accused of orchestrating her killing, will call witnesses today.

If Sievers were to testify, he would be their last witness, but the defense is going to have an uphill battle to fight inside of the courtroom after Monday’s bombshell testimony from several witnesses.

“Panicked and paranoid.” That’s the picture Bethany Mitchell painted of Mark Sievers to the jury, saying he acted off in the weeks following his wife’s murder. And she wasn’t the only one who pointed out his odd behavior.

The Siever’s former neighbor shared information that really shed a light on their relationship, insinuating that Teresa was ready to leave her husband.

“It was continuous and then right after that we went inside and started dinner. She [Teresa] said ‘I’m tired of this crap, I’m leaving,'” said former neighbor, Kimberly Torres.

The defense says they only have seven witnesses to call to the stand, which means we could see this wrap up before the end of the week.

The morning began with concern from a juror, but that was quickly dismissed.

Scroll down to watch the Day 8 testimony, read more on the witnesses and follow along with us on Twitter.


WATCH TESTIMONY FROM INSIDE 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.


Witness #37: Casey Stout, LCSO Digital Forensics Unit Supervisor

Sievers’ attorney called Stout to the stand first. He did a digital extraction on Mark’s cell phone.

He’s back with a filtered report of that extraction showing just communication between Mark and Curtis Wayne Wright. That was entered into evidence and no further questions were asked by the Defense.


Witness #38: Lt. David Lebid, LCSO

Lebid was called to the stand during the State’s questioning as well.

Sievers’ attorney asked him more questions about his suspicions about Angela Wright, Curtis Wayne Wright’s wife.

Lebid testified he believed Angela was involved in Teresa’s murder. Why did he think this? “Prior experience working cases”.

The defense questioned about Angela also owning a prepaid phone. We’ve heard testimony from State witnesses that Mark and Curtis purchased prepaid phones in the weeks before Teresa’s murder. That’s a major point in the State’s case.

There was some back-and-forth questioning about Angela’s involvement. Lebid said their investigation concluded she never went to Florida and was not involved in the homicide.


Witness #39: Lt. Michael Downs, LCSO

Lt. Downs is called to the stand and the defense begins by showing the video of Taylor Shomaker, Jimmy Rodgers’ ex-girlfriend, leading LCSO detectives to the blue jumpsuit on the side of the road in Missouri. It’s a reenactment.

At this point, the State argued that the video is not admissible. Judge Bruce Kyle sustained the objection, saying the jury will not see this.


Witness #40: Kimberly Van Waus, LCSO Crime Scene Technician

Van Waus is called to the stand next. She collected evidence from the Sievers’ home and Wright’s rental car.

Sievers’ attorney began by questioning Van Waus about a shredded insurance document for Teresa that she found in the Sievers’ home.

Next, Van Waus was questioned about the pictures she took inside the Sievers’ home. One showed dog bowls and the hammer on the floor. Another is a picture of the fridge with blood spatter on it.

Following Van Waus’ questioning, the court took a break for lunch.

The defense told Judge Kyle their next witness will be Curtis Wayne Wright—Mark’s former best friend who testified that he killed Teresa with Rodgers.


Witness #41: Myra Simmons, retired from LCSO

Following a lunch break, the defense called Simmons to the stand. She analyzed cell phone data in the case.

Sievers’ attorney asked her about Angel Wright’s personal and burner phones. A map shows that her burner phone pings only showed in Missouri, not Florida.

The State then questioned Simmons about the phone. She said that phone wasn’t activated until the end of June and didn’t ping in Southwest Florida.


Witness #42: Curtis Wayne Wright

Wright is back in the courtroom after testifying as one of the State’s witnesses as well as in Jimmy Rodgers’ trial. He is the former best friend of Mark who confessed to killing Teresa.

The defense started off by asking him about a conversation he had with Mark about their payment agreement for doing computer work at the Sievers’ medical practice.

Some rather interesting text messages were put up on the screen for jurors to see. One of the tests from Wright to Mark read, “You are NOT sleeping with us!” “Us” being Wright and his soon-to-be new wife, Angela.

After a relevance objection from the State, Sievers’ attorney moved on to another conversation between the two about computer work.

The defense showed the text Wright sent to Mark the day after Teresa was found murdered. Wright said he remembered sending it.

Wright said one of the text messages from Mark about computer work was actually referring to him getting rid of his burner phone.

With a rather quick testimony, only about 30 minutes, the defense finished questioning Wright.

The defense did not mention his wife Angie as they did to other witnesses earlier. Instead, they ended questioning looking to poke holes in some of Wright’s testimony.

He and Mark didn’t make eye contact as he is escorted from the courtroom.


Witness #43: Dr. Mark Petrites

After a quick recess, Dr. Petrites is called to the stand. He is the one who found Teresa’s body.

Defense for Mark pointed out that Petrites sat through the entire Jimmy Rodgers trial once he was released as a witness. Then, asked if Teresa ever asked him to come by and check on her if she was alone. Petrites said that happened once.

They also pointed out that Petrites has known Mark to carry more than one cell phone. That was all for the defense.


Witness #44: Monica Lyons, Attorney

Lyons is expected to be the last witness for the day. She specializes in trusts and does estate planning.

The defense handed Lyons a document from 2009. It’s an irrevocable trust agreement for Dr. Teresa Sievers with Mark Sievers listed as the trustee. Lyons says she helped put this together for them.

She testified that when Mark and Teresa first came to her, she didn’t believe either had sufficient life insurance policies.

“Teresa was one of the most dynamic people I have ever met in my entire life,” Lyons said. She said she could tell Teresa was going to become more successful than just a doctor in Southwest Florida.

The State asked questions about trusts and creditors. It’s a little confusing. Even the state and the witness seem to be going in circles. “I think I know what you’re trying to ask,” said Lyons. “I don’t know if you do,” said ASA Cynthia Ross.


Lyons’ testimony was the last for the day. The big question still is whether or not Mark will take the stand. His defense team wants to talk with him overnight and will tell Judge Kyle their decision on Wednesday morning. If he does not take the stand, the defense will rest.

As of around 4:40 p.m., the jury was sent home for the day. Judge Kyle then went through jury instructions with the attorneys, a standard practice. They went through any objections from both sides.

Everyone was sent home for the day around 4:45 p.m. Court will pick back up Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Then we will learn whether or not Mark will take the stand.


CONTINUING COVERAGE

 

 

Reporter:Taylor Petras
Brooke Shafer
Writer:Briana Harvath
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