Produced by Marcelena Spencer, Susan Mallie and Lisa Freed
[This story previously aired on February 15. It was updated on August 22.]
When high-profile physician Teresa Sievers was found murdered in her Bonita Springs, Florida, home – bludgeoned with a hammer – there were no immediate suspects and her husband had a rock-solid alibi.
On Sunday evening, June 28, 2015, the doctor was home alone after cutting short a family vacation — leaving her husband Mark Sievers and their two daughters in upstate New York.
Who wanted the doctor dead? That question led investigators on a wild chase that ended up more than 1,000 miles away in Missouri with the shocking arrests of Jimmy Ray Rodgers, a career criminal, and Curtis Wayne Wright, the look-alike best friend of the doctor's husband.
"Once you started to unwrap it a little bit … it was nutty. It was weird," said Jessica Lipscomb, a former crime reporter for the Naples Daily News, who covered the case.
But things only got weirder when Wright claimed the man behind it all was Mark Sievers himself.
A BRUTAL ATTACK
The shocking murder of Dr. Teresa Sievers in Bonita Springs, Florida, was a huge story —especially for Jessica Lipscomb, who covered crime for the Naples Daily News.
Jessica Lipscomb: 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.
Erin Moriarty: When you first started on this case would you have ever imagined it would end up to where it is right now?
Jessica Lipscomb: No.
Jessica Lipscomb: To think of this mother of two who was killed brutally inside her home was horrifying to people.
The doctor had cut short a family vacation in upstate New York and had flown home alone on Sunday night, June 28, 2015, so she could see patients the next morning.
Jessica Lipscomb: You kind of put yourself in her shoes … rolling your suitcase through the door, and then to be attacked by someone from behind is – it's hard to imagine.
Investigators believe that as soon as Dr. Sievers walked into her kitchen she was killed, struck repeatedly with a hammer.
Jessica Lipscomb: The next morning, her office staff got in …
Sandra Hoskins was Teresa Sievers' long time medical assistant.
Sandra Hoskins: It's now 9:00, now it's 9:05 … Now it's 9:15. I said, "Where's doctor?"
Sandra Hoskins: I was texting back and forth trying … to see if, you know, "Where are you at?" And no response. Called. No answer. Mark's out of town … he says, "I can't get a hold of her either."
Erin Moriarty: How unusual was it for Dr. Sievers not to show up?
Sandra Hoskins: Even if it was 9:00 and three seconds after, you would hear her heels coming in.
When Connie Reiss heard the tragic news, she contacted her stepbrother Mark Sievers – the doctor's husband.
Connie Reiss Landy: It was just — so unbelievable.
Erin Moriarty: how did he react to the death of his wife?
Connie Reiss Landy: He couldn't speak. … he's not the kind of guy that's been overly emotional on the outside. But he couldn't speak.
Connie and Mark became family when her mother married his father.
Connie Reiss Landy: I asked him, "What happened to Teresa?"
Erin Moriarty: And what did he say?
Connie Reiss Landy: "No idea."
Mark met his future wife in 2003 when he was visiting St. Petersburg, Florida.
Erin Moriarty: … pretty much love at first sight?
Connie Reiss Landy: Well, I think by the time that he introduced her to mom … I think he was pretty much done [laughs]. He was — he was off the market officially.
Jennie Weckelman [laughs]: Yeah, really.
He was working as a nurse, while she was a recently divorced physician.
Connie Reiss Landy: Teresa hung the moon [laughs]. … 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 stepmother Jennie Weckelman.
Jennie Sievers Weckelman: …was a sunset wedding. And — she had a beautiful gown. … it was very nice [laughs].
Erin Moriarty: Was he happy on that day?
Connie Reiss Landy: Oh, my gosh!
Jennie Weckelman: He was very happy.
Six months later their first daughter was born. The Sievers built a large house in Bonita Springs, and in 2007, welcomed another daughter.
Erin Moriarty: How did Mark feel about being a dad?
Connie Reiss Landy: … it was everything to him. It — they were his reason for being. … 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 videos.
Sandra Hoskins: We would have patients from all over the world … they would come to us after they failed everything else.
Sandra Hoskins [crying]: She wouldn't take a no for an answer.
Talking about the doctor still makes Sandra emotional.
Sandra Hoskins: And as a patient she wouldn't allow you say, "I'm never gonna get better."
While patients loved the doctor, Sandra and her husband Frank Pais, who also worked at the practice, admit it wasn't always easy working for Sievers – the doctor had a short fuse.
Frank Pais: I would hear the doctor screamin' and yellin' in the – in back office.
Erin Moriarty: Dr. Sievers would yell at patients?
Frank Pais: She was there to help you get better … didn't have what they call the bedside manner.
Erin Moriarty: Would she yell at you?
Sandra Hoskins [laughs]: Yes.
Frank Pais: And she expected perfection. And if it wasn't perfect, she would get upset.
Jessica Lipscomb: She was — a big presence. And sometimes that meant that she got really feisty with people. … She was the — the biggest figure in the room.
While Teresa took care of her patients, Mark managed her office and took care of their daughters.
Frank Pais: The girls were his pride and joy.
And according to her sister Annie Lisa, Teresa was equally devoted to Mark.
Annie Lisa: Teresa always said, "I'll never leave Mark." "I won't ever do that to my girls."
Nevertheless, within weeks, Mark Sievers, became a person of interest.
Erin Moriarty: Did he cooperate initially?
Jennie Weckelman: Oh, yes.
Connie Reiss Landy: I think he thought he was doing the right thing.
Mark spoke to investigators without a lawyer present and even handed over his cellphone and allowed them to download the contents.
Erin Moriarty: Was he worried he might be arrested?
Jennie Weckelman: He thought … "Why would they? … what kind of evidence could they possibly have, 'cause I didn't do anything?"
In fact, Mark Sievers had an airtight alibi. At the time of Teresa's murder, he and their two girls were with Teresa's family – hundreds of miles away.
WHO WANTED THE DOCTOR DEAD?
Eight days after Dr. Teresa Sievers was murdered, friends and family came together for her funeral, including Mark's stepmother Jennie Weckelman.
Jennie Weckelman: There were a lotta people, yes, and it was sad, of course.
Sandra Hoskins: Almost all her patients were there. I was numb.
Mark Sievers reportedly had a gun strapped to his waist at his wife's funeral. Strange? Well perhaps, but her killer hadn't yet been arrested and, according to stepsister Connie Reiss, Mark was on edge.
Connie Reiss Landy: He was very much in protective mode.
Erin Moriarty: When you say "protective mode" what do you mean?
Connie Reiss Landy: Well, 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 [sighs] safety.
Jennie Weckelman: 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.
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?
Jennie Weckelman: Could've been anybody … 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.
Jessica Lipscomb: So, when this happened, everyone wanted to know what happened with the alarm. And as it turns out. It hadn't been activated.
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 Mark said not to worry about it. On Monday morning, Dr. Sievers was discovered dead on her kitchen floor.
Mark's mother spoke to investigators:
BONNIE SIEVERS: So, I really feel it's my fault [crying].
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.
Erin Moriarty: Did Mark hint that her death might be connected with that?
Jennie Weckelman: Yes, yes, he did.
But with no real evidence to make that connection, investigators turned their attention to the people who might have had an ax to grind with the energetic, often abrasive, Dr. Sievers.
Jessica Lipscomb: 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 … so it was pretty much like a wide-open field of suspects at that point.
Then, 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 Sandra who seemed so upset by Dr. Sievers' death.
ANNIE LISA [police interview]: 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."
Sandra Hoskins: I'm like "Oh, my God, they think I did it."
Sandra, 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 Sandra the doctor, told her she was bringing bad energy to the office.
Sandra Hoskins: Now I know why I was not received very well at her memorial.
Erin Moriarty: Why would anyone think that you did this?
Sandra Hoskins: That is shocking to me. … A lot of the patients did know the way she treated me.
Erin Moriarty: And, so, people thought, "Maybe you had just had enough?
Sandra Hoskins: Yeah.
Sandra Hoskins was cleared when nearly two months after Dr. Sievers was murdered, there was a stunning break in the case. Police made arrests and the suspects were not from Florida.
Jessica Lipscomb: So, we showed up to a press conference I believe that August. And the sheriff gets up there and tells us, uh, 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.
Jennie Weckelman: Never heard of him … I thought, "Oh well, who is he and what's he got to do with this?"
Jessica Lipscomb: And then about an hour later, he calls us in again and says, "We've now picked up a second suspect … Curtis Wayne Wright also from Missouri." … It was so shocking.
To solve this murder, investigators would travel more than 1,000 miles. And, they were in for a wild ride. They 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.
Jennie Weckelman | Mark Sievers' stepmother: Why? … 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, Curtis Wayne Wright, that struck everyone. He had an uncanny resemblance to the victim's husband Mark Sievers.
Jennie Weckelman: They look alike, yes …
Erin Moriarty: At least in pictures, they look like twins.
Connie Reiss Landy | Mark Sievers' stepsister: And that's … that's when I … started to believe, you know, that definitely there is not something right with Curtis Wayne Wright.
As it turns out, Curtis Wayne Wright, he goes by Wayne, was no stranger to Mark's family.
Jennie Weckelman: He was Mark's very good friend.
Connie Reiss Landy: — from ages and ages. So, I didn't believe it. I didn't.
It just didn't make sense. Wayne and Mark had grown up together in Missouri. Wayne 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 Wayne's best man at his wedding. Wayne was also a familiar face around the office.
Erin Moriarty: Did you two know Wayne Wright, how did you know him?
Sandra Hoskins | Dr. Sievers' longtime medical assistant: He was the computer guy that looked just like Mark.
Wayne would travel from Missouri to Florida to work on the computers in Dr. Sievers' office.
Erin Moriarty: How would you describe Wayne?
Frank Pais | Employee of Dr. Sievers: He was geeky … all he wanted to do was get the computers up and running … focused.
Sandra Hoskins: But, to me he just seemed like a geeky creepster.
Erin Moriarty: Did he make you nervous?
Sandra Hoskins: A little bit … I can't explain it. It's just a woman's intuition.
Erin Moriarty: How would you describe Mark and Wayne's relationship? They appear to be close friends?
Sandra Hoskins: Yeah.
Frank Pais: He's always said, "he's my brother from another mother"
Sandra Hoskins: Yeah, that was his lingo.
Back in Hillsboro, Missouri, Greg Bolin knew both Mark Sievers and Wayne Wright when they both had hair. He first met Wright in the third grade.
Greg 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.
Greg Bolin: He actually ran for and became our class president.
Erin Moriarty: Smart?
Greg Bolin: Very smart … 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.
Erin Moriarty: Do you believe Wayne Wright killed your brother?
Greg Bolin: Yes, I do.
Erin Moriarty: You have no question about that?
Greg Bolin: I have no doubt in my mind …
Bolin believes the motive was money that Wright owed Ronnie.
Jessica Lipscomb: … they found his car with the car keys still in ignition in a car wash in St. Louis.
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 Ray Rodgers was released from jail. Tyler Juliette and Jeff Conway hired him to work at a contracting company.
Tyler Juliette: You could just tell he needed a job. He wanted a job, you know?
Jeff Conway: He liked to tell a lot of stories. A lot of things he told at the time, nobody really believed Jimmy … He liked to brag a little bit about things he had done in the past.
A colorful criminal past. He says Rodgers would brag about con jobs ranging from stolen merchandise to counterfeit money.
Tyler Juliette: 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.
Conway recalls that he had asked Jimmy to work on Monday, June 29. But Jimmy texted him back and said he wasn't available.
Jeff Conway: All it said was, "I can't do that. I'm still in Florida."
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
Jessica Lipscomb: Supposedly, Jimmy Rodgers' nickname was "The Hammer." But I think it 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.
Why was Jimmy "The Hammer" Rodgers in Florida that fateful weekend? Was Wayne Wright with him? And what led authorities to believe they were involved in a doctor's murder?
1,100 MILES TO MURDER
Back in June 2015, practically everyone in Hillsboro, Missouri, knew that Wayne Wright was planning a weekend trip out of town.
Jessica Lipscomb: … he let it slip to lots of people that he was going down to Florida … Told some people he was even going to visit the Sievers.
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.
Jeff Conway | Rodgers' boss: He told me a story that his brother … 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 Wright.
Jessica Lipscomb: He had told her he was going down to Florida to make some money.
Weeks after Rodgers and Wright returned, detectives from Florida showed up in Hillsboro, Missouri. They confronted Wright about that tip placing him in Florida, but he refused to talk. He didn't need to — a rental car gave the cops what they needed to know.
On the morning of June 27, 2015, Wayne Wright got into a rental car in Hillsboro, Missouri, 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 the 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 entered into the GPS. It wasfor investigators.
When Rodgers and Wright arrived around 6 a.m., authorities believe they turned off the house alarm. That may explain why Mark Sievers' mother Bonnie 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: …. 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.
Jessica Lipscomb: Obviously, looking at that security footage from the Walmart, they're able to pretty quickly determine that that's who was with Wayne …
Erin Moriarty: They made no effort to cover their faces? Disguise themselves?
Jessica Lipscomb: 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 $100 bill.
After shopping at Walmart, Rodgers and Wright continued using the navigation system, even to find the beach and soak up some sun.
Erin Moriarty: Does it make any sense that this guy who was so good with computers would have left such a trail?
Greg Bolin: It does but it doesn't … to a lot of people looking at it, it kind of makes it look like these guys were just dumb and dumber, but that's a lot of how he operated.
After their beach trip, according to police affidavits, Wayne Wright and Jimmy Ray Rodgers returned to the Sievers home where they hung out for hours in the garage, waiting for an unsuspecting Dr. Sievers to arrive.
In the early morning hours of Monday, June 29, the GPS again 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 like Wayne Wright, he denied he had anything to do with the murder.
But when police brought in Rodgers' girlfriend Taylor Shomaker, what a story she had a story to tell.
Jimmy Ray Rodgers took his girlfriend for a ride along route 47 in rural Missouri. And along the road, he asked Shomaker to throw out parts of his cellphone, 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 ... 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.
Shomaker told police that's when she pushed Rodgers to tell her exactly what happened in Florida:
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.
Florida detectives now thought they knew who killed Teresa Sievers, but they still didn't know the why. Why would Wayne Wright want to kill his best friend's wife?
Erin Moriarty: Did everyone then say, "Oh, my gosh, Mark had to be involved"?
Jessica Lipscomb: Definitely. I mean … there was really no … putting Wayne in Florida in Bonita Springs inside their house without Mark knowing about it.
Erin Moriarty: Did it occur to either one of you that Mark might be involved?
Connie Reiss Landy: No.
Jennie Sievers Weckelman: No.
Erin Moriarty: Not even a thought in the back of your mind?
Connie Reiss Landy: No.
Jennie Sievers Weckelman: No. Absolutely not.
But when investigators downloaded Mark's cell phone, they discovered the Sievers' marriage was more troubled than anyone guessed. Despite having $40,000 in cash around the house, they had serious financial problems. And when investigators discovered five insurance policies on Teresa totaling more than $4 million – it was a big red flag.
Jimmy Ray Rodgers' girlfriend had told police that Teresa's death was a murder for hire and that Rodgers was supposed to be paid $10,000.
TAYLOR SHOMAKER: And then asked him how he was going to make money and it was murdering Mark's wife.
DETECTIVE: He said that Mark hired Wayne –
TAYLOR SHOMAKER: Yes, and Wayne hired him. Mark didn't know anything about Jimmy
DETECTIVE: … 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.
Then, almost 8 months after Teresa Sievers' murder, Wayne Wright – Mark Sievers' look-alike best friend – suddenly turned on him and took a deal. 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 in the murder of Teresa Sievers.
He said the murder was all Mark's idea – and that's what police needed. Mark Sievers was charged with the murder of his wife.
But Sievers' stepsister says he would never risk losing his children. She believes Wayne Wright had long envied his best friend's life and he's the one who killed Teresa on his own.
Erin Moriarty: Why would Wayne kill Teresa?
Connie Reiss Landy: Because he's a sick man.
Erin Moriarty: Do you think Wayne was jealous of Mark?
Connie Reiss Landy: I think it's possible … whether he's jealous of Mark or wanted to be Mark. I don't have any clue.
Family and friends point to how Wayne Wright began to model himself after Sievers, even shaving his own head when Sievers started to go bald.
Greg Bolin: They didn't look alike when we were younger.
Greg Bolin: How much they morphed into each other over the years … if it was by chance or … by their plan, I don't know.
More than four years after Curtis Wayne Wright cut that deal to testify against Mark Sievers and ex-con Jimmy Rodgers, the two men go on trial, but separately – Rodgers' case went first in October 2019. Teresa Sievers' mother and siblings were in the courtroom.
HAMID HUNTER | ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: This case was about the perfect marriage. The perfect friendship. The perfect alibi. The perfect murder …
Assistant state attorney Hamid Hunter told the jury Teresa's Sievers death was a classic case of murder for hire: Mark Sievers was miles away while Curtis Wayne Wright and Jimmy Ray Rodgers killed his wife.
HAMID HUNTER: Mr. Wright hit her with the hammer. Hit her again. Mr. Rodgers came out of nowhere … Mr. Rodgers engages with his hammer. And he starts hitting, hitting her, hitting her.
Kathleen Fitzgeorge is Rodgers' defense attorney:
KATHLEEN FITZGEORGE: What you heard from the state attorney is what they believe or expect or hope the evidence will show, but it's a bumpy road because they haven't told you everything.
THE TALE OF TWO TRIALS
The state actually believes Teresa Sievers was killed with two hammers, but only one was discovered on the Sievers' kitchen floor. They showed the jury that hammer and the damaging video evidence of the two men near the crime scene.
PROSECUTOR CYNTHIA ROSS | PROSECUTOR: Is this how you found this jumpsuit on the side of the road in Cadet, Missouri?
A fiber from the jumpsuit worn by Rodgers was found on Teresa's body.
Rodgers' former girlfriend, Taylor Shomaker, appeared shaken when she entered the courtroom. She identified that blue jumpsuit and told the jury Rodgers confessed to her:
TAYLOR SHOMAKER: And then I asked him "how" and he said, "with a hammer."
Then the state called their star witness: Curtis Wayne Wright.
In exchange for his testimony at both trials, Wright was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and will spend 25 years in prison:
PROSECUTOR: Mr. Wright, who killed Dr. Sievers?
WAYNE WRIGHT: I did and Jimmy Rodgers.
PROSECUTOR: How many times did you hit Dr. Sievers with that hammer?
WAYNE WRIGHT: Three.
PROSECUTOR: Mr. Rodgers came from somewhere and he started hitting her, what did he do?
WAYNE WRIGHT: Just started hitting her over and over.
PROSECUTOR: How would you describe how he was hitting her?
WAYNE WRIGHT: In a frenzy.
Rodgers did not testify, and his attorney Donald McFarlane called no witnesses, but told jurors they should not believe Curtis Wayne Wright:
DONALD MCFARLANE | RODGERS' DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Curtis Wright's the only one that ever hit that woman and he's lying to you to save his own worthless skin. … Jimmy didn't have a hammer.
The jury was out nearly two days before reaching a verdict: guilty of second-degree murder.
Rodgers showed no emotion. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Then, in November 2019, Mark Sievers went on trial for the murder of his wife. He spent much of the prior three years in jail, still denying he had any involvement and his family was still behind him.
Jennie Weckleman | Stepmother: We just haven't seen any evidence that makes any sense as far as Mark being involved.
Both his stepmother Jennie Weckleman and stepsister Connie Reiss Landy vowed to support him through the trial.
Connie Reiss Landy: I will do everything that I can [nervous laugh] to be there.
Erin Moriarty: Are you nervous about it?
Connie Reiss Landy: Yeah, Yeah.
Mark Sievers, charged with first-degree murder of his wife, appeared unfazed even though he faced the death penalty. The same prosecutors who tried Jimmy Rodgers will use much of the same evidence in front of a different jury:
CYNTHIA ROSS | PROSECUTOR: This is a case which 21st century technology became vital — cell towers … cell tower dumps, call detail records — that allowed massive amounts of data to sorted, organized, and searched
But Sievers' defense attorney Michael Mummert says all that evidence only points to Curtis Wright and Jimmy Rodgers as the killers:
MICHAEL MUMMERT | SIEVERS' DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Curtis swings that hammer [yells "BANG"] at the side of the head, followed by another one across the bridge of the nose …
MICHAEL MUMMERT: Curtis says, "I struck Teresa three times in the head with a hammer, but Jimmy did the rest …"
Testifying again is Jimmy Rodgers former girlfriend, Taylor Shomaker. She says her ex was promised a payday but can't connect Sievers to it:
PROSECUTOR: Did he tell you how much money he expected to be making from this?
TAYLOR SHOMAKER: Yes.
PROSECUTOR: And what did he tell you?
TAYLOR SHOMAKER: I think it was $10,000.
The case again comes down to that star witness, Curtis Wayne Wright, who will now come face to face with his mirror image and once closest friend:
ATTORNEY: Mr. Wright, who killed Dr. Teresa Sievers?
WAYNE WRIGHT: Jimmy Rodgers and I physically did it, but Mark Sievers was also involved in the planning.
For several hours, Wright testified against Sievers, the man he affectionately called his "brother from another mother."
ATTORNEY: Why did you do it?
WAYNE WRIGHT: I was asked to do it.
ATTORNEY: By whom?
WAYNE WRIGHT: Mr. Sievers.
Wright told the jury that Sievers and his wife were having marital and money problems and that Sievers believed Teresa was planning to leave him and take the kids.
WAYNE WRIGHT: The only option … that he had was for her to die and he said that he needed to have her killed.
When the judge asked Mark Sievers if he wanted to testify:
MARK SIEVERS: I'm not going to testify, but I would like to go home.
This time, the jury was out just four hours. The families gathered in the court for the verdict: guilty of first-degree murder.
Teresa Sievers' family audibly gasp at the verdict.
Mark Sievers, stoic at first, began to cry. In addition to the guilty verdict, the jury asked the judge to sentence Sievers to death.
This is how former employee Frank Pais felt before the trial.
Erin Moriarty: What should happen to Mark Sievers? He's facing the death penalty.
Frank Pais: I think the death penalty is the easy way out … I think the pain and torture that he deserves is to sit in jail – the rest of his life — thinking about his two pride and joy daughters … that should be his punishment.
On January 3, 2020, Mark Sievers, now a convicted killer, returned to court to find out if he will get life in prison or be sentenced to death.
This time he agreed to speak, to plead for his life:
MARK SIEVERS: Although a jury found me guilty, I am innocent of all charges as I have maintained since this heinous crime took place. [Sievers chokes up while reading his statement] Our girls have tragically lost their mommy, and now they are about to lose their daddy, as well.
It didn't take long for the judge to rule:
JUDGE BRUCE KYLE: I judge people's actions. I don't judge people's souls. That's for somebody else to do. Sir, I am going to go ahead and adjudicate you guilty on each count on the first count, first-degree murder, it's the order of the court that you be sentenced to death, sir.
For Teresa's family, it's the end of an agonizing nearly 5-year wait for justice.
Teresa's brother [to reporters]: This has been an incredible nightmare from the beginning.
Teresa took down three guys that took her from us.
Teresa's mother [to reporters]: crying) She was my modern-day mother Teresa. I always called her that because she always was trying to help people.
Teresa's brother: Our focus now [voice breaks] –
Teresa's mother: – is to go on, to take care –
Teresa's brother: – take care of the girls and give them the love and support that they need. And we're glad that it's over. Justice has been served.
The Sievers daughters, now teenagers, are being raised by Teresa's family.
The judge denied Mark Sievers request for a new trial.