FORT MYERS, Fla. -- You could see the emotions and relief on Teresa Sievers’ family's faces Wednesday. More than four years since she was killed, Teresa's husband Mark Sievers has been convicted in her murder.
It took the jury just four hours to reach a decision.
“We the jury find as follows, as to the defendant in this case; Count one, first degree murder: the defendant is guilty of first degree murder. Conspiracy: the defendant is guilty of conspiracy.”
The state says Sievers hired Curtis Wright and Jimmy Rodgers for the job. Rodgers was convicted of second degree murder last month. Wright took a plea deal in the case. He's expected to get 25 years in prison.
At this point, it looks like Mark Sievers will at least be put away for the rest of his life. But he could still get the death penalty.
The same jurors who convicted him will meet again on Tuesday to determine his sentence.
In order for Sievers to be put to death, all 12 jurors have to unanimously agree. If even one disagrees, Sievers will get life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Our legal expert, Pam Seay, says if the state wants to put Sievers to death, they'll need to focus on the aggravating factors of this case during the sentencing hearing. "What was it that made this such an egregious crime? We've got a husband and wife. That should be the biggest part of trust you can have with another person and he breached that trust. So right there that's one of the most aggravating circumstances you can find. And the fact that he planned it out with his best friend, and what he did to cover it up. That's what shows a depraved mind."
It's during this penalty phase that Seay says we will likely hear from Curtis Wright again. We will also hear impact statements from Teresa Sievers’ family about how her murder has changed their lives.
Then, Seay says the defense needs to focus on the mitigating factors -- any possible mental or physical health issues. Or anything in Mark Sievers' past that would lead jurors to believe he shouldn't be put to death.
"The jury must deliberate over that to make a recommendation of life or death. It is in their hands at that point," says Seay.
If the jury does decide to give Mark Sievers the death penalty, there would be automatic appeals.
If Mark Sievers gets life in prison, his team will still likely file appeals.
The death penalty process is one that could take decades.
But we want to get back to Dr. Sievers’ family, and emotions they showed as that verdict was read.
We spoke with her sister, Anne Lisa, and brother as they left the courtroom. "It's been a long time. I can finally put this behind me and start living my life," said Lisa.
The state tells us they are focusing on the penalty phase of the trial and are already back to work on that.
We asked the defense for a comment as well. They did not want to speak with us.
Jimmy Rodgers was found guilty of second-degree murder in October, and he will be sentenced next week as well. His sentencing is set for December 12th.
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