Tag Archives: mark sievers

Lois Riess held without Bail in Fort Myers

lois riess

Lois Riess Lee County mug shot

Extradition complete, alleged killer-granny Lois Riess has arrived in Lee County, and at first appearance today, the judge determined she will be held without bail. Riess is currently facing second degree murder charges in the death of Pamela Hutchinson, who’s body was found a couple weeks ago on Fort Myers Beach. Riess allegedly killed her, stole her identity, her vehicle and cash, and used them to flee to Texas, where she was caught last week. Riess is also suspected in the death of her husband in Minnesota, though charges are still pending there.  LCSO even had her delivered to the main office so they could give her a perp walk: a rare ‘honor’ not seen since they picked up Mark Sievers.

While the current charges are for second degree murder, the State could take the case to a grand jury to indict for first degree murder, as the murder appears to be premeditated. If the charges are upped to first degree, the state could decide to seek the death penalty, in light of the aggravating factors that Mrs. Riess may have committed the offense for pecuniary gain and to aid her flight from the earlier murder she may have committed. There may be mitigating factors, such as mental health issues: Texas has indicated that she suffers dementia. Insanity could be a defense, if the mental health disorders were so severe she could not tell right from wrong, though the fact that she may have plotted a murder to abscond on a previous murder would vitiate her insanity claim. The case will be interesting from a legal standpoint.

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The State might be Paying a Key Witness in the Theresa Sievers Murder Case

  • Indications are that Jimmy “The Hammer” Rodgers former girlfriend is being paid by LCSO
  • Rodgers and Mark Sievers facing possible death penalty in the murder of Mark’s wife Dr. Theresa Seivers.
Theresa Sievers

Theresa Sievers

We haven’t had much coverage in the case of Dr. Theresa Sievers, who was killed allegedly at the hands of two associates of her husband Mark, Curtis Wright and Jimmy “The Hammer” Rodgers. Curtis Wright has already pled to second-degree murder charges, and Rodgers and Mark Sievers are facing a possible death penalty. The case is extremely complex, due to the length of the investigation and the fact that it stretches all the way to Missouri, and the parties have been bogged down in discovery issues.

Now, NBC-2 has uncovered something very interesting in a discovery motion filed by Mark Sievers’ attorney. In the Motion to Compel Discovery, Sievers requests records relating to funds that are being paid to Taylor Shomaker. Shomaker was dating Jimmy Rogers at the time of the murder, and gave a statement against him, and is expected to be a key witness wen the case goes to trial. Therefore, if she has received payments for her testimony, especially if she’s receiving them on a regular basis, that’s fodder for the defense attorneys.

mark sievers jimmy rogers the hammer

Mark Sievers and Jimmy “The Hammer” Rodgers

The legal issue is whether the monetary incentive could influence a witness to testify favorably for one party. It’s not unusual for professional or expert witnesses to be paid for the time they spend working on a case: consider a doctor a or a lab expert that may be hired to give an opinion on a case. However, these types of witnesses are expected to be paid, and even then it is just for the actual time they spend. Even then, it is fodder for the other side to impeach a witness based on the money they are being paid to testify. The Defense will argue that she is being paid to get her to testify against the others, and the more money she is paid, the less reliable her testimony will be.

curtis wayne wright lee

Curtis Wayne Wright

Likewise, Curtis Wright is receiving compensation for his testimony, but not monetary. The Defense will argue that Wright is testifying so he can get a better deal. The State already let him plea to 2nd Degree Murder, effectively eliminating the risk of the death penalty for him, and potentially less prison time. In their motion, the the Defense is also trying to get documentation related to Wright’s proffer and his cooperation. Wright’s testimony will be key to tie Sievers into the plot, as it appears Wright and Rodgers committed the murder while Mark Sievers was out of town. They may have some evidence of communication between Sievers and Wright, but his testimony will be key to prove Sievers’ knowledge and complicity in the plot.

Taylor Shomaker

Taylor Shomaker from her law enforcement interview

That’s not unusual, for consideration to be given to one conspirator to go after another. However, the circumstances regarding the payments to Ms. Shomaker are extremely unusual. Perhaps it will be revealed that it was compensation for travel expenses or something innocuous, but the indications in the Defense’s Motion to Compel certainly sounds out of the ordinary.

via NBC-2

What’s Going On in the Theresa Sievers Murder Case

  • Prosecutors have indicated an intention to seek the death penalty
  • Mark Sievers’ attorneys will need assistance
Mark Sievers

Mark Sievers

Mark Sievers was back in court last week, as the court considered whether his attorneys can stay on the case. The judge ruled that they can, for now, but they will need to get assistance from an attorney who is qualified to handle death penalty cases. Florida law requires that an attorney working on a death penalty has special qualifications to do so, including previously working on a death penalty trial as second chair to a death-qualified attorney, and neither Mr. Faga nor Mr. Mummert has that qualification. However, they indicated to the court last week that they have been in contact with the death penalty unit, which has agreed to help out. Judge Kyle has agreed to let them stay on the case at this time (provisionally).

Jimmy Rodgers

Jimmy Rodgers, “The Hammer”

Co-defendant Jimmy Rodgers, aka “The Hammer”, was also in court for a case management hearing as well. He is represented by attorney’s for the public defender’s office, who indicated that they are in a holding pattern due to the concern over the qualifications of Sievers’ attorneys. Normally, it would be time to start setting depositions at this time, but it’s important to have a death-qualified attorney, as there are specific death-penalty inquiries that need to be undertaken. For instance, a few years ago a local attorney took over a case that had been handled by a non-qualified attorney, and had to redo many of the depositions to cover additional issues. That’s a waste of time and resources that judge Kyle is being cautious to avoid.

How did we get here? After the third co-defendant, Curtis Wright, pled out to his second-degree murder charge, he gave a proffer (statement) regarding his involvement. Mark Sievers was charged after the State gained Wright’s cooperation. Subsequently, the State presented the case to a grand jury and obtained an indictment for first degree murder. This process is necessary before they can seek the death penalty. The state then filed their notice of the intent to seek the death penalty. Sievers’ attorneys have filed a motion to strike the notice of intent (alleging untimeliness, but the state contends it was filed in a timely manner under the law.) There are many other pretrial issues that remain to be decided, and much investigation and depositions to be done.

Another issue is the validity of the Death Penalty in Florida. The Supreme Court invalidated the procedure for the death penalty, and the legislature promulgated a new law for the procedure. That law was invalidated by a couple judges, but it was reinstated on appeal. The issue will reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court, and it may end up going back to the Supreme Court of the United States. Florida heard arguments in June, but has yet to rule.

State to Seek Death in Sievers Murder

mark sievers jimmy rogers the hammer

Mark Sievers & Jimmy Rodgers

Yesterday the State Attorney’s office filed a notice that they intend to seek the death penalty against Jimmy “The Hammer” Rodgers and Mark Sievers for the death of Sievers’ wife Theresa. That the state intends to seek the death penalty is not altogether surprising, as there are potentially several aggravating factors present that could justify the death penalty if proven, including the brutal nature of the killing, that it was premeditated, and that it was done for financial gain. On the other hand, the State has been unsuccessful in the last several attempts to seek the death penalty in Lee County.

Theresa Sievers

Theresa Sievers

To further complicate matters, the death penalty is very much in flux in Florida. Florida just amended its death penalty procedure, after the previous procedure was rejected by the Supreme Court in the Hurst decision. The new procedure, which increases the number of jurors that must vote to recommend the death penalty to 10 of 12, instead of unanimously, has already been rejected by some circuit-level judges. That matter will certainly be reviewed by the State Supreme Court.

This also means that Mark Sievers will have to get another attorney on his legal team, as his current lawyers are not death-penalty qualified. They can still represent him, but he will need a death penalty lawyer to join the team. Also keep in mind, the State has flipped Siever’s friend Curtis Wright to have him testify in the other prosecutions.

Sievers and Rodgers had Court Today on the 1st Degree Murder Charges

Jimmy Rodgers

Jimmy Rodgers, “The Hammer”

Mark Sievers and Jimmy Rodgers, who were recently indicted for 1st degree murder charges in the death of Dr. Theresa Sievers, had their most substantive court date so far on the criminal cases. Today’s hearing is a Case Management conference, basically a scheduling hearing to determine the progress of the case going forward. Sievers’ attorney waived speedy trial, and continued the case a couple months out- to July. Rodgers attorneys, however, declined to waive speedy trial yet, as no all of the evidence collected has been disclosed yet. The state indicated their investigators are still going through it. Rodgers is set for a pretrial conference next month: it is still likely his case will also be continued beyond that date, but the evidence is so voluminous that it hasn’t all been processed.

Mark Sievers

Mark Sievers

The 1st degree murder indictment means that the state can seek the death penalty. The judge asked the prosecutor if that was a possibility, and he indicated that they are still considering all options. That means they may decide to seek the death penalty. That’s a decision for a later date.

Arrest Warrant Issued for Mark Sievers

Theresa Sievers

Theresa Sievers

UPDATE: Mark Sievers has been arrested for the murder of his wife, Dr. Theresa Sievers.

A warrant for the arrest of Mark Sievers was issued this afternoon. NBC-2 reports that deputies are at his home, now. Curtis Wayne Wright, one of two men charged in the murder of Dr. Theresa Sievers, entered a plea earlier today to second-degree murder, and prosecutors agreed to a 25-year sentence. The timing is likely not a coincidence, as Wright’s plea may have freed him up to talk to investigators… and that may have been the final evidence they needed to link Mark Sievers to the murder of his wife. We don’t have any details yet, but that is a very logical chain of events: the arrest on the same day as the plea deal is almost certainly related.

Jimmy Rodgers, the other man charged, just arrived in Lee County this week to face the charges, after being extradited from Missouri, where he was picked up.

The News-Press is reporting that Mark Sievers has been arrested, and that there is a substantial assistance (testifying) component to Curtis Wright’s plea deal.

Mark Sievers to Keep Custody of Children for Now

Theresa Sievers

Theresa Sievers

After the release last week of documents implicating Mark Sievers in the death of his wife, Dr. Theresa Sievers, Florida’s Department of Children and Family Services [DCF] moved to remove their children from his custody. The hearing, known as a shelter hearing, began on Friday. The shelter hearing was continued from Friday until Monday for more evidence. At court today, the judge reviewed the documents from Curtis Wayne Wright’s murder case that implicated Sievers, but did not find sufficient evidence to take the children away at this time.

There is a high burden of proof for the State to be able to take someone’s children away, and the State can’t make it at this time. While there is suspicion around Mr. Sievers, there is not evidence of an actual threat to the children at this time. The judge said the State’s case is based on “probability and speculation” and that suspicions and concerns are not sufficient in a shelter case. However, the State can seek to shelter the children at a later time, as the status of the case changes.