Mark Sievers files motion for new trial
Mark Sievers has filed a motion for a new trial Tuesday evening.
According to the motion, Sievers and his lawyer, Michael Mummert, believe the verdict is “contrary to the weight of the evidence.”
Sievers was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death on Jan. 3, 2020 for the murder of his wife, Dr. Teresa Sievers.
A motion for a new trial is allowed to be filed within 10 days after the written final judgment of conviction and sentence of life imprisonment or death is filed.
With this motion, the trial court must exercise its discretion to determine “whether a greater amount of credible evidence supports” an acquittal.
Sievers argues that the only direct evidence of his culpability came from Curtis Wayne Wright.
He says it is “undisputed” that Wright lied several times to law enforcement during his initial meeting, is a five-time convicted felon, manipulated his neighbors to provide him a false alibi and “received a preferential plea in exchange for his testimony.”
Sievers also claims several facts given by Wright were directly or indirectly contradicted by “more credible witnesses” at trial.
To find Wright credible, the jury “would have had to give greater weight to his testimony” than other witnesses who “were not subject to a cautionary jury instruction regarding co-defendant testimony.”
Sievers also claims prejudice with respect to juror misconduct. He says after an interview with WINK News, the jury foreperson said the jury decided they believed the testimony of Dr. Mark Petrites describing a phone conversation after Sievers “failed to inquire as to the status of Dr. Teresa Sievers’ condition, instead asking whether a robbery had occurred.”
The foreperson also said the jurors found Wright credible because “you don’t get on the witness stand and hit somebody with a hammer unless it’s true.”
Finally, Sievers claimed prejudice with respect to newly discovered evidence. Citing the same interview, he says the jury found Petrites’ testimony “especially persuasive,” despite the fact that the doctor testified that neither he nor his wife were especially close to Mark Sievers.
Following the guilty/not guilty phase of the trial, Sievers’ step-mother found a letter from Michelle Petrites-Wilcox, Esq., Dr. Petrites’ wife. It outlined the depth of the relationship between Sievers and Petrites-Wilcox. Sievers claims that the letter “directly contradicts” Petrites’ testimony.
The letter was not available to the defense prior to trial and would have been “valuable for impeachment purposes.” The defense says they did nothing to conceal or obfuscate the existence of the letter or its contents, claiming that the unavailability of the letter was not due to any fault of the defendant.