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Penalty phase to begin Tuesday in the trial against Mark Sievers

Posted at 7:22 AM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 08:16:40-05

FORT MYERS, Fla – Tuesday, the penalty phase in the trial against Mark Sievers will begin. This phase will decide his fate.

A jury found Mark Sievers guilty of orchestrating the murder of his wife, Doctor Teresa Sievers, back in 2015.

The same jury who convicted Sievers of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder will return to the Lee County courthouse Tuesday morning.

Two punishments are on the table for Mark Sievers. He could get the death penalty, or life in prison without parole.

For Sievers to be sentenced to death, all 12 jurors will have to unanimously agree.

We spoke with legal expert Pam Seay on the likelihood of Sievers getting the death penalty, and what the jury will consider when entering the penalty phase on Tuesday.

"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," said Seay.

Seay adds that if the state wants to put Sievers to death, they'll need to focus on the aggravating factors of this case. For example, the fact that the level of trust between a husband and wife was breached, and that the murder was planned out with his best friend.

During this penalty phase, we are also likely to hear from Curtis Wright again. It's wright's testimony that Seay believes is why the jury was able to reach the verdict it did so quickly.

"They listened to Curtis Wayne Wright. They believed him. That carried the day for them. Without Curtis Wayne Wright, they had no case. The one thing they needed to do was convict on conspiracy. With a conspiracy they get premeditation. With premeditation they have first degree murder," she added.

During this phase of the trial, we will also hear impact statements from Teresa Sievers family, about how her murder has changed their lives.

According to Seay, we'll see the defense focus on the mitigating factors, which could include any possible mental or physical health issues, anything in Mark Sievers' past that would say he shouldn't be put to death.

One of Sievers' conspirators, Jimmy Rodgers, will also be sentenced this week.

Rodgers as you'll recall was convicted of second-degree murder in the case. His sentencing will take place on Thursday.