FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The court is proceeding with jury selection Tuesday after a motion was denied on the first day of trials in the murder of Teresa Sievers.
Defendants Mark Sievers and Jimmy Rodgers were both in court Tuesday morning for separate trials in relation to the murder case.
There was talk of the possibility of a plea deal for Jimmy Rodgers. After a brief recess, Rodgers was back before the judge, and the defense said there was no plea deal. Rodgers says there was one offer offered to him, but he denied it. The judge asked if he understood that if he is found guilty, it’s either “life in prison or death penalty”. Rodgers said he understands.
They proceeded with jury selection with a pool of 50 jurors.
The trials will not be simultaneous. The trial for Jimmy Rodgers is up first, followed by Mark Sievers.
The trials are expected to last five weeks. Sievers will be at the courthouse every day throughout the Rodgers trial in case a resolution with Rodgers is found faster. The judge called it “backup trial”.
11:00am -- Jury selection for Rodgers is beginning, with the Judge saying the goal is "to get a fair jury for both sides."
The judge asked who would have a financial hardship if they are part of the jury. About 15 people raised their hands. Some are saying they can’t because they are a one income home, they are business owners, or have pre-planned vacations. One man said he is a government employee who is still recovering from the government shut down and can’t afford to miss work.
A total of 28 were taken off the list for hardship.
1:50pm-- 13 Jury members say they have heard of the case and they were separated from the others. Each individual is being questioned on what they know individually.
After questioning a total of 14 jurors from that pool were asked to return Wednesday at 1:30 pm for further questioning.
4:00pm-- Another pool of 47 jurors began questioning. When asked who would have financial hardship if they are part of the jury, and if they had prior knowledge of the case, 18 were asked to return on Wednesday at 1:30 pm.
A total of 32 jurors will return to the courthouse on Wednesday at 1:30 pm.
Photos: Teresa Sievers crime scene (Graphic)