Produced by Lisa Freed, Marcelena Spencer and Michelle Feuer
The shocking murder of Dr. Teresa Sievers in Bonita Springs, Florida, was a huge story -- especially for reporter Jessica Lipscomb, who covered crime for the Naples Daily News.
“This mother of two who was killed brutally inside her home was horrifying to people,” Lipscomb told “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty.”I think any time there is a beautiful, successful woman who is murdered, that’s sort of what society pays attention to -- for better or for worse.”
The 46-year-old doctor had cut short a family vacation in upstate New York and flown home alone on Sunday night, June 28, 2015, so she could see patients the next morning.
“She … comes back to here to the Southwest Florida International Airport,” Lipscomb explained. “…there’s security footage of her rolling her suitcase through the terminal.”
“She calls Mark, tells him she’s … safe. And then,” Lipscomb said,” gets in her car and heads back to their house.
Investigators believe that as soon as Dr. Sievers walked into her kitchen, she was killed – struck repeatedly with a hammer.
“You kind of put yourself in her shoes,” Lipscomb continued, “rolling your suitcase through the door, and then to be attacked by someone from behind is -- it’s hard to imagine.”
Amy Bennett Williams, wrote about the Sievers murder for The News-Press.
“I remain astonished by why it had to be done with such savagery,” she told Moriarty of the doctor being struck with a hammer 17 times.
“It’s passionate, it’s premeditated, it’s -- it’s -- it’s cold,” said Lipscomb.
“And angry,” Moriarty noted.
“Very angry,” Williams agreed.
When Connie Reiss heard the tragic news, she contacted her stepbrother, Mark Sievers, the doctor’s husband.
“It was just -- so unbelievable,” Reiss told Moriarty.
Asked how Mark reacted to the death of his wife, Reiss said, “He couldn’t speak. …he’s not the kinda guy that’s been overly emotional on the outside. But, you know -- he couldn’t speak.”
Reiss and Mark became family when her mother married his father.
“I asked him, ‘What happened to Teresa?’” said Reiss.
“And what did he say?” Moriarty asked.
“’No idea,’” she replied.
Mark met his future wife in 2003, when he was visiting St. Petersburg, Fla.
“Was it pretty much love at first sight?” Moriarty asked Reiss.
“Well, I think by the time that he introduced her to Mom … I think he was pretty much done,” she replied with a laugh. “He was off the market officially.”
He was working as a nurse, while she was a recently-divorced physician.
“Teresa hung the moon,” Reiss recalled fondly. “She was … a remarkable human being and very special. And that’s the way Mark treated it from the beginning. You could just -- you could hear it in his voice.”
They were married on the beach surrounded by friends and family, including Mark’s stepmother, Jennie Weckelman.
“…a sunset wedding. And she had a beautiful gown,” she said. “It was very nice.”
Asked if Mark was happy on that day, Weckleman said, “Yes, very happy.”
Six months later, their daughter, Josephine, was born. The Sievers built a large house in Bonita Springs, and, in 2007, welcomed another daughter, Carmela.
“How did Mark feel about being a dad?” Moriarty asked Reiss.
“Oh, it was everything to him. It was -- yeah, they were his reason for being,” she replied. “But … he was also all about Teresa and her mission.”
That mission was to open a holistic practice where she could heal patients by blending traditional and alternative medicine. She also spread her message in speeches and video.
“We would have patients from all over the world,” said Sandra Hoskins, Dr. Sievers’ longtime medical assistant. “And they would come to us after they failed everything else.”
Talking about the doctor still makes Hoskins emotional.
“As a patient, she wouldn’t allow you say, ‘I’m never gonna get better,’” Hoskins said in tears.
While patients loved the doctor, Hoskins, and her husband, Frank Pais -- who also worked at the practice -- admit it wasn’t always easy working for Sievers. She had a short fuse.
“I would hear doctors screamin’ and yellin’ in the back office,” said Pais.
“Dr. Sievers would yell at the patients?” Moriarty asked.
“She was there to help you get better,” Pais explained. “Didn’t have what they called the bedside manner.
“Would she yell at you?” Moriarty asked Hoskins.
“Yes,” she replied.
“And she expected -- perfection. And if it wasn’t perfect, she would get upset,” said Pais.
“She was -- a big presence. And sometimes that meant that she got really feisty with people,” Lipscomb explained. “She was the -- the biggest figure in the room.”
While Teresa took care of her patients, Mark took care of their daughters.
“The girls were his pride and joy,” said Pais.
Mark also managed his wife’s office.
“I’ve also heard it described that he allowed her to have her life. He made her life happen,” Moriarty noted to Williams.
“Very much so. Yes. He -- because he was the support system,” she replied. “…you know, saw to the day-to-day details so that she could do what she wanted to do.”
But even Mark couldn’t escape his wife’s wrath.
“Mark! Get back here right now. Get in here,’” Pais said, mimicking the doctor.
“’Mark, get out and leave Sandra alone.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, great,’” said Hoskins.
“How often would Dr. Sievers yell at her husband? Was it a pretty frequent thing?” Moriarty asked the couple.
“Every time,” Hoskins said. “Unfortunately that was the norm.”
“It’s almost like he had, like, a thick skin. He just didn’t care,” said Pais.
It’s the same thing Teresa’s close sister, Annie Lisa, told investigators -- that Mark put up with his wife’s anger because he adored her”:
Annie Lisa to detective: She could finish ripping him out, like “Mark, I told you a hundred f------ times, don’t let the dogs out.” “I’m sorry, honey,” he would be like. And then she would be doing something, he’d go, “Sweetie, let me get that for you.” …Mark worshipped the ground Teresa walked on.
And according to Lisa, her sister was equally devoted to Mark:
Annie Lisa to detective: Teresa always said, “I’ll never leave Mark. I won’t ever do that to my girls.”
Nevertheless, within days, Mark Sievers became a person of interest.
“Was that just because whenever someone is killed the first person you look at is the spouse?” Moriarty asked Williams.
“I think it’s become a cliché. It has to be the husband,” she replied.
“Did he cooperate initially?” Moriarty asked Weckelman and Reiss.
“Oh, yes,” said Weckelman.
“I think he thought he was doing the right thing,” said Reiss.
Mark spoke to investigators without a lawyer present and even handed over his cell phone and allowed them to download the contents.
“Was he worried he might be arrested?” Moriarty asked Weckelman.
“He thought … ‘Why would they? …what kinda evidence could they possibly have, ‘cause I didn’t do anything?’” she replied.
In fact, Mark Sievers had an airtight alibi. Remember, at the time of Teresa’s murder, he and their two girls were with Teresa’s family – 1,300 miles away.
WHO WANTED THE DOCTOR DEAD?
Eight days after Dr. Teresa Sievers was murdered, friends and family came together for her funeral.
“There were a lotta people, yes, and it was sad, of course,” said Mark’s stepmother, Jennie Weckelman.
“Almost all her patients were there. I was numb,” said Sandra Hoskins.
“As we were going down to try to get to the casket, we were seeing her sisters on one side. And the look that we were getting wasn’t a look of sadness. It was a look of hatred,” said Frank Pais.
Pais and his wife, Sandra Hoskins, say the look didn’t just come from Dr. Sievers’ sisters. They were getting the same look from the grieving widower.
“I hugged him. What do you say? I said, ‘Mark, I am so sorry, I don’t have words to say to you’ and he squeezed me so tight and nothing came out of his mouth,” Pais said. “Then Sandra hugged him and when Mark hugged Sandra, his teeth gritted. And it wasn’t nothing of sorrow or sadness. The look was hatred. … I stepped back. I said, ‘Holy crap.’”
“Her ex-husband -- her first husband, Kenny Cousins, was there,” Williams explained. “…and he went to hug Mark and bumped into a gun that Mark had strapped to his waist. And he thought that was a jarring note on that day that Mark came to the funeral with a gun under his jacket.”
Strange? Well, perhaps, but Dr. Teresa Sievers’ killer hadn’t yet been arrested and, according to stepsister Connie Reiss, Mark was on edge.
“He was very much in protective mode,” Reiss explained. “I think, you know, he always keeps an eye and an ear to the ground, so to speak, and is aware of his surroundings and you know he -- he was concerned for their safety.”
“I think it was in the back of his mind that … there might be some dangers to his daughters because of what happened to their mother,” said Weckelman.
It just didn’t make any sense. Who would want the vibrant and dedicated Dr. Teresa Sievers dead? And why kill her with such anger and force?
“Could’ve been anybody,” Weckelman reasoned, “and I really thought maybe it was just somebody that was in the area and broke in or something.”
There were signs of a forced entry -- pry marks on a side door -- but Mark’s extensive gun collection and $40,000 in cash discovered inside the Sievers’ home hadn’t been touched.
“So when this happened, everyone wanted to know what happened with the alarm. And, as it turns out, it hadn’t been activated,” Lipscomb explained.
While the family was on vacation, Mark had asked his mother, Bonnie Sievers, to feed the family pets. She had trouble setting the alarm that Sunday and told detectives her son said not to worry about it. Monday morning, Dr. Sievers was discovered dead on her kitchen floor.
Bonnie Sievers [crying] So I really feel it’s my fault.
Detective: You can’t, you cannot blame yourself.
Around the time of Dr. Sievers’ murder, the internet was buzzing with reports about the suspicious deaths of other alternative doctors in the U.S.
“For a while right after she was killed, the blogosphere sort of erupted with, ‘Oh my goodness, there was a doctor here who was killed and a chiropractor here who was killed. And is this some conspiracy by big pharma to eliminate doctors who were challenging the pharmaceutical establishment?’” said Williams.
But with no real evidence to back up that theory, investigators turned their attention to the people who might have had an axe to grind with the energetic, often abrasive, Dr. Sievers.
“I think the theory that I heard was -- was that maybe it was a patient. Obviously they were interviewing all of her friends and family members,” Lipscomb explained. “So it was pretty much like a wide open field of suspects at that point.”
A surprising name emerged. In her police interview, Dr. Sievers’ sister, Annie Lisa, said she heard Sandra Hoskins was a disgruntled employee—that’s the same woman who seemed so upset by the doctor’s death.
Annie Lisa to detective: I also heard her say over the years, that you know, Sandra was bad mouthing Teresa.
Annie Lisa to detective: You may not like your boss, but you don’t bad mouth them to patients that are coming in the doors. Like, “Dr. Sievers, you know, she’s a -- she’s a bitch.”
“I’m like, ‘Oh my God, they think I did it,’ said Hoskins.
Hoskins, who claims she had been treated harshly by Dr. Sievers in the past, had planned to hand in her resignation that very Monday the doctor was found dead. According to Hoskins, the doctor told her she was bringing bad energy to the office.
“Now I know why I wasn’t received very well at her memorial,” she said.
“Why would anyone think that you did this?” Moriarty asked.
“That is shocking to me,” Hoskins replied. “A lotta the patients did know the way she treated me.”
“And so people thought, maybe you had just had enough?” Moriarty asked.
“Yeah,” said Hoskins.
And when a detective called her husband Frank, Pais said, “He greeted me. He took me to this little room and he left me there.”
Detective: I’ll be right back, is that all right?
“And I sat in the room, five, 10 minutes, maybe 15 minutes,” Pais continued.
Suddenly, he realized all eyes were on him.
“Then all of sudden it dawned on me, I’m being watched. I saw a piece of dust on the floor and I started counting Mississippi. One Mississippi, two. I got to 120ish and then the detective walked in,” Pais told Moriarty. “And he asked me point blank, ‘Did you have a sexual relationship with Doctor outside the office?’”
Detective: Never had a relationship with her outside of work or anything like that?
Frank Pais: No
Detective: Dr. Sievers ever come on to you?
“Then he goes, ‘Did you have a sexual relation with Doctor inside the office?’ I said, ‘absolutely not,’” said Pais.
Police were suspicious because Frank had been “let go” from his job at Dr. Sievers’ practice by her husband, Mark, nine months before she was murdered.
“Why did they think you could have killed Teresa Sievers?” Moriarty asked.
“Don’t know,” Pais replied.
“Were you worried about Frank?” Moriarty asked Hoskins.
“I wasn’t worried about him, ‘cause I know he didn’t do it,” she replied.
And, Pais says he had an alibi.
Then, in late August 2015, nearly two months after Dr. Teresa Sievers was murdered in her Florida home, a stunning break in the case. Police made arrests and the suspects were not from Florida.
“So we showed up to a press conference, I believe, that August. And the sheriff gets up there and tells us simply the name of the first suspect, Jimmy Rodgers … and he says he’s from Missouri and he’s been booked for the murder of Teresa Sievers,” said Lipscomb.
“Never heard of him,” Weckelman said. “I thought, ‘Oh well, who is he and what’s he got to do with this?’”
“…and then about an hour later, he calls us in again and says, ‘we’ve now picked up a second suspect … also from Missouri,” Lipscomb said. “It was so shocking.”
To solve this murder, investigators would travel more than 1,000 miles. They were in for a wild ride and would soon discover this case had as many twists and turns as the Missouri River.
THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS
WINK-TV report: Teresa Sievers was bludgeoned to death with a hammer … Neighbors are still waiting for answers.
The two arrests for Teresa Sievers’ murder, made 1,100 miles away in Missouri, seemed to come out of the blue.
“Why?” Weckelman said with a laugh. “You know … ‘What’s going on? ‘ …Just seemed like such a disconnect.”
No one had ever heard of the suspect Jimmy Ray Rodgers, but it was the mug shot of the other suspect -- Wayne Wright -- that struck everyone. He had an uncanny resemblance to the victim’s husband, Mark Sievers.
“All I can say is that their physical similarity was the subject of plenty of newsroom talk,” reporter Amy Bennett Williams said. “We would show photos of them side by side, and say, you know, is there some blood bond here of which we’re not aware…”
“They look alike, yes,” said Weckelman.
“At least in pictures, they look like twins,” Moriarty noted.
“…that’s when I started to believe, you know, definitely that there is not something right with Curtis Wayne Wright,” said Reiss.
As it turns out, Curtis Wayne Wright, who goes by Wayne, was no stranger to Mark’s family.
“He was Mark’s very good friend,” said Weckelman.
“…from ages and ages… so I didn’t believe it. I didn’t,” Reiss said shaking her head in disbelief.
It just didn’t make sense. Wayne Wright and Mark Sievers had grown up together in Missouri. Wright was at Teresa’s funeral, he had celebrated Mark and Teresa’s wedding with them, and just two months before the murder, Mark had been Wright’s best man at his wedding. Wright was also, quite literally, a familiar face around the office.
“Did you two know Wayne Wright, how did you know him?” Moriarty asked Sandra Hoskins and Frank Pais.
“He was the computer guy that looked just like Mark,” Hoskins replied.
Wayne Wright would travel from Missouri to Florida to work on the computers in Dr. Sievers’ office.
“How would you describe Wayne?” Moriarty asked.
“He was geeky,” Pais replied. “All he wanted to do was get the computers up and running -- focused.”
“But, to me he just seemed like a geeky creepster,” said Hoskins.
“Did he make you nervous?” Moriarty asked.
“A little bit,” Hoskins replied. “I can’t explain it. It’s just a woman’s intuition.”
“How would you describe Mark and Wayne’s relationship? They appear to be close friends?”
“Yeah,” said Hoskins.
“He’s always said, ‘he’s my brother from another mother,’” said Pais.
“Yeah, that was his lingo,” said Hoskins.
Back in Hillsboro, Missouri, Greg Bolin knew both Mark Sievers and Wayne Wright. He first met Wright in the third grade.
Bolin remembers his high school classmate, Wright, as a tech whiz, the kid voted most dependable, and as a fun guy to hang around with.
“He actually ran for and became our class president,” said Bolin.
“Smart?” Moriarty asked.
“Very smart,” Bolin replied. “Quite honestly he was one of the smartest people with computers that I ever met.”
But it wasn’t long before Bolin suspected Wayne Wright had a dark side. In 1996, Bolin’s brother, Ronnie Bolin, a preacher, mysteriously disappeared. His body has never been found. And according to police, Ronnie was last seen with Wright.
“Do you believe Wayne Wright killed your brother?” Moriarty asked Greg Bolin.
“Yes, I do,” he replied.
“You have no question about that?”
“I have no doubt in my mind….
Greg Bolin believes the motive was money that Wright owed Ronnie.
“…they found his car with the car keys still in ignition in a car wash in St. Louis,” reporter Jessica Lipscomb said of Ronnie Bolin.
Wright has never been charged in Ronnie Bolin’s disappearance, but he is listed in a police report as a person of interest. And Wright’s no stranger to the criminal justice system. In 2011 he was serving time for drug possession when he befriended the other suspect in Dr. Sievers’ murder: a young inmate named Jimmy Ray Rodgers who was doing time on a weapons charge.
Jimmy Rodgers was released from jail. Tyler Juliette and Jeff Conway hired him to work at a contracting company.
“You could just tell he needed a job. He wanted a job, you know?” said Juliette.
“He liked to tell a lot of stories. A lot of things he told at the time, nobody really believed Jimmy,” Conway explained. “He liked to brag a little bit about things he had done in the past.”
A colorful, criminal past. Conway says Rodgers would brag about con jobs ranging from stolen merchandise to counterfeit money.
“I never felt Jimmy was a dangerous guy. I just felt like he was a blowhard honestly, you know. I really felt like he was just a talker,” said Juliette.
Conway recalls that he had asked Jimmy Rodgers to work on Monday, June 29. But Rodgers texted him back and said he wasn’t available.
“All it said was, “I can’t do that. I’m still in Florida,” said Conway.
It was on June 29, that Dr. Teresa Sievers was discovered bludgeoned to death with a hammer inside her Florida home and it didn’t go unnoticed to investigators that Jimmy Ray Rodgers had a unique nickname.
“Supposedly Jimmy Rodgers’ nickname was ‘The Hammer.’ But I think that was more like a self-given nickname. If you talk to some of his friends from high school they say ‘Nobody really called him that,’ but I think maybe going to jail for the first time, you know … trying to make a name for himself … maybe that’s something he sort of assigned himself to fit in,” said Lipscomb.
Why was Jimmy “The Hammer” Rodgers in Florida that fateful weekend? Was Wayne Wright with him? And what led authorities to believe they were both involved in a doctor’s murder?
THE ROAD TRIP
Back in June 2015, practically everyone in Hillsboro, Missouri, knew that Wayne Wright was planning a weekend trip out of town.
“He let it slip to lots of people that he was going down to Florida,” Jessica Lipscomb told Moriarty. “Told some people he was even going to visit the Sievers.”
Word was out and it wasn’t long before police got a tip that Wright had been in Florida at the time of Dr. Sievers’ murder. And he hadn’t gone there alone. He went with his jailhouse pal, Jimmy “The Hammer” Rodgers.
“He had actually told me a couple of weeks before that that he might be going to Florida,” said Rodgers’ boss, Jeff Conway. “He told me a story that his brother who had lived in California at the time had graduated from law school and that he had invited Jimmy down to Florida for the weekend all expenses paid.
But he told his pregnant girlfriend, Taylor Shomaker, another story. He was going out of town for a few days to work with Wayne Wright.
“…he had told her he was going … to make some money,” said Lipscomb.
Detectives from Florida arrived in Hillsboro, Mo., weeks after Rodgers and Wright returned from their trip. They confronted Wright about that tip placing him in Florida. He shut them down. But a GPS exposed a lot of what they needed to know.
On the morning of June 27, 2015, Wright got into his rental car in Hillsboro and then went to pick up Jimmy Ray Rodgers. At some point, an address was put into the GPS and then the two men took off for their 1,100 mile ride to Bonita Springs, Florida.
After driving all day and all night, on Sunday, June 28, Wright and Rodgers arrived at the Sievers home --the Bonita Springs address programmed into the GPS. It’s a digital footprint for investigators.
When Rodgers and Wright arrived around 6 a.m., authorities believe they turned off the house alarm. That may explain why Mark’s mother, Bonnie Sievers, was so confused about the alarm system:
Bonnie Sievers: I was not there at 6:09 in the morning.
Cop: It was turned off at 6:09.
Bonnie Sievers: Oh, my god. You mean someone was in there?
Cop: That’s what we’re trying to work out.
Bonnie Sievers: Oh, my God.
Then, according to the GPS, Rodgers and Wright left the Sievers’ home and typed in another address -- for a Walmart -- to do some shopping.
… obviously looking at that security footage from the Walmart they’re able to pretty quickly determine who was with Wayne,” Lipscomb said of the video.
“They … made no effort to cover their faces? Disguise themselves,” Moriarty asked.
“No,” Lipscomb said. “”They just waltzed through like they were anyone else.”
They bought, among other things, trash bags, flushable wet wipes, black towels, black shoes, and a lock-picking kit. They paid cash for their purchase with a one hundred dollar bill.
After shopping at Walmart, Rodgers and Wright continued using the navigation system -- even to find the beach.
“Does it make any sense that this guy who was so good with computers would have left such a trail?” Moriarty asked Greg Bolin.
“It does but it doesn’t,” he replied.
Bolin, who firmly believes Wayne Wright killed his brother, knows Wayne’s world is far from predictable.
“To a lot of people looking at it, it kind of makes it look like, you know, these guys were just dumb and dumber,” said Bolin.
After soaking in some sun at the beach, according to police affidavits, Wright and Rodgers returned to the Sievers home where they hung out for hours in the garage, lying in wait for an unsuspecting Dr. Sievers to arrive.
“Which one do investigators believe did the killing?” Moriarty asked Williams.
“There was a story or two in which Wayne said he started and Jimmy finished,” she replied.
Less than an hour later, in the early morning hours of Monday, June 29, the GPS shows Rodgers and Wright on the highway headed northbound for the 17-hour drive back to Missouri. The electronic trail would eventually lead detectives to Jimmy Ray Rodgers’ door. But just like Wright, he denied being involved. And when they pulled in Rodgers’ girlfriend, Taylor Shomaker, what a story she had to tell.
Jimmy Ray Rodgers took his girlfriend, Taylor for a ride, along Route 47 in rural Missouri. And along the way, he asked her to throw out parts of his phone which he had smashed earlier, some gloves and a jumpsuit.
Taylor Shomaker: …he said, “throw this into the river” and it took me a minute to click in...
Taylor Shomaker: And then I threw the gloves out and then waited a minute and then I threw out the jumpsuit…
Detective: Did you ask why or you just did it?
Taylor Shomaker: No, I just did it. I was scared.
Taylor told police that’s when she pushed Jimmy to tell her exactly what happened in Florida.
“…and he ends up telling her that you know, he went with Wayne and they killed Mark, Mark Sievers’ wife,” said Lipscomb.
Taylor Shomaker: And he told me about using a hammer on her.
Detective: OK. And he said that he killed Teresa Sievers, Mark’s wife --
Taylor Shomaker: Yeah.
Detective: -- with a hammer?
Taylor Shomaker: Yes.
Now Florida detectives knew who killed Teresa Sievers. but they were missing a crucial piece of the puzzle. Why would Wayne Wright want to kill his best friend’s wife?
“Did everyone then say, ‘Oh, my gosh, Mark had to be involved,” Moriarty asked Lipscomb.
“Definitely, I mean … there was really no -- no putting Wayne in Florida in Bonita Springs inside their house without Mark knowing about it,” she replied.
Or was there?
“When you heard that Teresa had been murdered, did it occur to either one of you that Mark might be involved?” Erin Moriarty asked his stepsister and stepmother.
“No,” they replied in unison.
“Not even a thought in the back of your mind?” Moriarty asked.
“No,” said Connie Reiss.
“No. Absolutely not,” said Jennie Weckelman.
Mark Sievers’ family can’t accept what just about everyone else had long suspected.
“There were a lot of things that made Mark Sievers seem suspect to people,” Jessica Lipscomb explained. “He wasn’t talking with investigators anymore. He wouldn’t give media interviews. There were rumors that he had lawyered up.”
“But didn’t Mark Sievers have an airtight alibi?” Moriarty asked.
“Right… even with the alibi of being … with his two daughters … people just … couldn’t find … what a possible motive could be for anyone else to be interested in killing this woman,” Lipscomb replied.
As reporters Amy Bennett Williams and Jessica Lipscomb discovered, the Sievers’ public life was very different from their private life.
“I heard rumors very early on that they were swingers,” said Lipscomb.
And when investigators downloaded Mark’s cell phone, they found text messages, emails, photos and videos revealing salacious details about the Sievers and their “open” marriage.
It was a surprise to Frank Pais.
“They had a different marriage than we thought. They had a different lifestyle. What they did behind closed doors, no one knew about,” Pais said. “They both were having relationship with other people.
The Sievers may have looked wealthy with their big house and successful medical practice, but they had serious money problems.
“There’s a significant IRS lien on the home. Mark … said that they often lived paycheck to paycheck,” Williams told Moriarty. “I think that there was sometimes almost panic about money.”
When investigators uncovered five life insurance policies for Teresa -- totaling more than $4 million -- it was a red flag.
So was that trip Mark Sievers made to Missouri to be Wayne Wright’s best man, and, as it turns out, the other suspect, Jimmy Ray Rodgers was also a wedding guest. Investigators wondered if that’s where Mark hatched a plan with the two men.
Taylor Shomaker, Rodgers’ girlfriend, claimed this was a murder for hire and that Rodgers was supposed to be paid $10,000.
Detective: He said that Mark hired Wayne –
Taylor Shomaker: Yes, and Wayne hired him. Mark didn’t know anything about Jimmy being hired.
Detective: And how – where was the money supposed to come from?
Taylor Shomaker: Insurance from her death.
Detective: OK. And did he ever get paid?
Taylor Shomaker: No.
And yet, Mark was not arrested. After conducting dozens of interviews, examining thousands of documents, and arresting Wayne Wright and Jimmy Ray Rodgers -- detectives still didn’t have the proof they needed to connect Mark to his wife Teresa’s murder.
And then, almost eight months after Teresa Sievers was killed, Wright – facing a possible death sentence – suddenly turned on his “brother from another mother” and took a deal.
“Self-preservation is … a powerful thing,” Lipscomb commented.
Wright admitted killing Teresa.
Judge: Mr. Wright, why are you pleading guilty today to second-degree murder?
Wayne Wright: I’m pleading guilty because of my role in the planning and participating of the murder of Teresa Sievers.
And he accused Mark of being the mastermind. That’s all police needed.
“It is clear to me that he had nothing to do with this murder,” Mark’s attorney, Antonio Faga, said. “At the end of the day, when Wayne was faced with the death penalty, he said … ‘I’ve gotta involve somebody else.’ And that somebody else had to be Mark.”
“Is there any direct evidence … that connects Mark with the death of his wife?” Moriarty asked Faga.
“Not that we have seen yet,” he replied.
“And yet he’s charged with first-degree murder and faces the death penalty,” Moriarty pointed out.
“Based on the testimony of Wayne Wright,” said Faga.
And Mark’s family believes Wright killed Teresa on his own, without Mark’s knowledge.
“Why would Wayne kill Teresa?” Moriarty asked Connie Reiss.
“Because he’s a sick man,” Mark’s stepsister replied.
“Do you think Wayne was jealous of Mark?”
“I think it’s possible,” Reiss replied. “Whether he’s jealous of Mark or wanted to be Mark I don’t have any clue,” They say it was Wayne Wright who began to model himself after Mark Sievers -- even shaving his head when Mark began to bald.
“They didn’t look alike when they were young,” Missouri friend Greg Bolin explained. “They morphed into each other over the years … if it was by chance or you know, by their plan, I don’t know.”
But if Wayne Wright killed Teresa Sievers on his own, how would he have known she was coming home alone that Sunday evening?
“Is it possible at all that Wayne Wright in Missouri could have known what Teresa was up to, her schedule?” Moriarty asked Hoskins and Pais.
“Absolutely,” they replied.
“He didn’t need to talk with Mark. He could have found that out on his own,” Moriarty noted.
“Yes,” Hoskins affirmed.
It turns out Wayne Wright may have been eavesdropping on the Sievers for years. He set up their office computer system and would troubleshoot, according to Hoskins and Frank Pais. They say the Sievers allowed Wright to access everything from his home in Missouri.
“He can creep on the computer any time he wanted … and do whatever he wanted,” said Hoskins.
“He saw everything that was going on in the office,” said Pais.
“Is it possible that Wayne knew more about what Teresa was doing than her own husband knew?” Moriarty asked the couple.
“Possible,” Pais replied.
Connie Reiss can’t imagine Mark could have had anything to do with the death of his wife.
“I love my brother,” Reiss told Moriarty. “I know that terrible things do happen and people do things to people that they love. And I try to be open-minded about that but … He’s not a sociopath … He wouldn’t do this to his children. Just not possible.”
Did Mark Sievers want his wife dead because of jealousy or money? Or was he betrayed by his best friend?
In their jail uniforms, it looks like a mirror image. Mark Sievers accused of planning his wife’s brutal murder; Wayne Wright the admitted killer.
“That is an astonishing photo,” Williams said of seeing the men pictured side by side.
Jimmy “The Hammer” Rodgers and Mark Sievers both have pleaded not guilty and will be tried together.
A jury will have to find the truth behind Dr. Teresa Sievers’ murder.
“Dr. Sievers lived dramatically and she died dramatically,” said Williams.
“Nobody really got what they wanted here,” Lipscomb said. “Her husband didn’t get what he wanted. He’s in -- in jail, you know, facing death. …her children lost … both their parents. So it just … seems pointless … that it happened and it’s just hard to make sense of.”
Mark Sievers and Wayne Wright are being held in different jails.
Teresa’s mother is now guardian of the Sievers children.
No trial date has been set.