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Jimmy Rodgers Trial updates: More witnesses planned Friday

Posted: 6:51 AM, Oct 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-11 20:55:35-04

UPDATE (2:30) -- Questioning has resumed after a lunch break. Lt. Downs is still on the stand.

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UPDATE (11:40 AM) - The fifth witness on Friday is Lt. Michael Downs, who was a detective on the Major Crimes Unit of the Lee County Sheriff's Office at the time of the murder.

Jimmy Rodgers murder trial: Lt. Michael Downs of LCSO (Part 1)

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UPDATE (11:30 AM) -- The fourth witness is Gladys Martinez, a Latent Examiner with the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

Jimmy Rodgers murder trial: LCSO Latent Examiner

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UPDATE (11 AM) -- The third witness on the stand Friday was Sgt. Johnsathan Armato with the Lee County Sheriff's Office. He was a detective at the time with the LCSO Major Crimes Unit.

Jimmy Rodgers murder trial: Sgt. Johnathan Armato with Major Crimes Unit at LCSO

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UPDATE (9:34 AM) -- The next witness called to the stand is Kevin "KC" Stout, a Digital Forensic Supervisor at the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

Jimmy Rodgers murder trial: Digital Forensic Supervisor for LCSO (Part 1)
Jimmy Rodgers murder trial: Digital Forensic Supervisor for LCSO (Part 2)

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UPDATE (8:51 AM) -- State prosecutors say they are ahead of schedule so far, but still have about a week and a half of questioning before they rest.

The first witness of Day 2 is Detective Jamie Nolen of the Lee County Sheriff's Office. He was the lead investigator on the case.

Jimmy Rodgers murder trial: Det. Jamie Nolen of LCSO (Part 1)
Jimmy Rodgers murder trial: Det. Jamie Nolen of LCSO (Part 2)

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The jury will hear from more witnesses Friday as the state tries to prove Jimmy Rodgers killed Dr. Teresa Sievers in her home in 2015.

During opening statements Thursday, the prosecution tried to appeal to the jury's emotions as they laid out their strategy to prove Jimmy Rodgers guilty.

"In order to tell the story, we have to start in the end. This story is about the perfect marriage, the perfect friendship, the perfect alibi, and the murder. It was almost perfect," said Assistant State Attorney Hamid Hunter.

The state then painted a picture of the scene, saying nothing in the home was ransacked, no valuables were stolen.

They laid out the evidence they say proves Jimmy Rodgers was in Florida, using his "electronic footprints" and video recordings.

They say Rodgers also took time off from work at the time the murder was happening.

The state told the jury that Rodgers claimed not to know Teresa’s husband, Mark Sievers, but there were photos of the two together at the wedding of Curtis Wright, his alleged accomplice.

The state says Rodgers’ girlfriend showed them evidence: a jumpsuit with Rodgers’ hair on it. She also told the prosecutors after detectives came to their home, Rodgers soaked his phone in water and broke it before throwing it out the window.

Hunter’s opening statements went on for just under an hour.

The defense kept theirs much more concise, finishing in just half that time.

Of course their main goal is to give jurors as much reasonable doubt as possible that Rodgers is not guilty. That's what his public defender, Kathleen Fitzgeorge, focused on in her statement.

“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,” said Fitzgeorge.

“What you will hear is a lot of evidence about Mr. Wright and Mr. Sievers and their long-time relationship, decades long. That they were boyhood friends, known each other for decades.

She went on to say Wright's and Rogers' girlfriends' statements haven't been consistent. That there was no communication between Rodgers and Mark Sievers. And she says detectives are paying his girlfriend $400 a month for her statement.

MORE COVERAGE: Opening statements and first witnesses in Jimmy Rodgers trial

We’ll continue to follow this trial closely and plan to stream it live on all Fox 4’s digital platforms.

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