i posted this link upthread but couldn't see the content on the page until this morning
(my free access had run out)
Big question: Will Mark Sievers be arrested?
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said he could not comment about Mark Sievers' role, but said the investigation is ongoing.
“If they look at the total body of work it’s pretty clear we’re being very thorough,” he said but added that there are reasons for everything that is done and not done.
“The problem is we can’t discuss those reasons,” the sheriff said.
“We have a group of people who did so much planning on the crime itself but never planned what to do if they got caught. They were very methodical and crafty,” he said. “But there was no plan B.”
Local attorneys had varying theories on why a Mark Sievers arrest may or may not happen.
Scot Goldberg, of Goldberg Law in Fort Myers, said he assumed there was a grand jury convened and that they would have charges to file against Sievers.
"I'm sure the grand jury will come out with indictments," he said. "What may happen, there may be two indictments."
He said that the indictments would likely target Sievers as well as Wright and that the Wright indictment might be a first-degree murder charge. Wright is in Lee County Jail facing a second-degree murder charge for Teresa Sievers' killing.
"I don't know how you can charge him with second-degree murder," Goldberg said. He said that the scope of the crime, planned and spanning several states, would nearly demand a first-degree charge.
"I think that the state may have run out of time," he said. "Unless a deal is happening."
Jennifer Zedalis, director of trial practice at the University of Florida's Levin College of Law, said she only knows about the case from watching news, but as a member of the Florida Bar for 34 years has an idea of what's going on.
“The defense attorneys for (Wright and Rodgers) are probably trying to make a deal to put their guy in front of the deal to … make a statement if they get a plea deal,” she said. “It could be that they’re trying to firm up the details of an agreement, and there’s always a scramble to know that you’re making the right decision.”
As for Mark Sievers, she said investigators just need something to connect him. But this is a narrative she's familiar with.
“It’s not surprising that it’s a spouse who arranged this,” she said. “It’s common knowledge that most cases like this … there’s usually a spouse involved.”
Department of Children and Families is aware of the documents released possibly tying Mark Sievers to the crime, but he retains custody of his two preteen daughters.
“We are involved with the family," DCF spokeswoman Natalie Harrell said. "At this time, we do not have any information that can be released.”
Zedalis said a person of interest in a case can walk freely while accusations swirl around them.
“It’s not that unusual even though it’s a little creepy,” she said.
Fort Myers defense lawyer Sawyer Smith was asked why someone implicated in a case like this would not yet be taken into custody. "Lack of evidence," he said.
Smith added: "I would suspect, in a case that's got the media attention that this one does, that the law enforcement agency investigating it ... is in constant communication with the state attorney's office and they're waiting to build as strong a case as they can before they make an arrest. Instead of rushing in and making an arrest that's gonna fail later, let's do it right. "
Smith said there's often subpoenas that need filed and layer upon layer of lawyers to weed through and possibly DNA testing.
"All that takes time. This isn't TV. You can't have a murder, solve a murder, arrest a defendant and try a defendant in 55 minutes," he said. "There's lots of complexities in these things. That's a good thing. That's why we have the Constitution and due process."
Smith said that he realizes people want arrests made and crime solved and to feel safe. He added that the state attorney and the sheriff also want to ensure the investigation be as fair and accurate as it can be, "so that a lawyer like me can't come in and exploit a weakness."
Robert Harris, a Fort Myers criminal defense attorney, said that the most damaging piece of evidence against Mark Sievers is Rodgers telling his girlfriend that Mark Sievers hired Wright to commit the murder.
“That is classic hearsay,” he said. “That would be a huge focal point for me as a lawyer to object at the point where the girlfriend said anything about what the co-defendant said about Mr. Sievers."
And hearsay won't cut it.
“I would say clearly the best way to secure a conviction against Mr. Sievers would be to have Mr. Wright or Mr. Rodgers testify that they were hired by the husband,” Harris said.
Harris said that, in his experience, there's not much more damning than physical evidence, especially the kind that is hard to erase.
“It seems like every case I have, someone leaves a piece of incriminating evidence on a cellphone,” he said. “People always leave a trail."