FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — A man was sentenced to death Friday for the 2015 killing of his wife, who was a well-known doctor in southwest Florida.
Mark Sievers, 51, read from a prepared statement in a final attempt to convince Lee County Judge Bruce Kyle to ignore a jury's unanimous recommendation for Sievers' execution.
"Although a jury found me guilty, I am innocent of all charges," Sievers said. He referenced his love for his dead wife, Dr. Teresa Sievers, 46, and their two young daughters, the News-Press reported.
The judge addressed Mark Sievers' claim of innocence.
"I judge people's actions, not their souls," Kyle said. “If I’m wrong, hopefully God will have mercy on our souls.”
Sievers was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder last month. Besides the death penalty, Sievers also received 30 years for the conspiracy conviction.
Teresa Sievers was found dead at her Bonita Springs home from an apparent hammer attack in June 2015, authorities said.
Mark Sievers recruited two Missouri men, Curtis Wayne Wright Jr., 51, and and Jimmy Ray Rodgers, 29, to kill his wife, prosecutors said. Sievers and Wright had been childhood friends in Missouri.
Wright and Rodgers killed Teresa Sievers with hammers after she returned home alone from a family vacation, prosecutors said. Mark Sievers was still on vacation with the couple’s two daughters and his wife’s family when the slaying occurred.
Wright previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a 25-year sentence. He testified at Rodgers' October trial that the Sievers were having marriage problems and Mark Sievers feared losing his daughters. Rodgers was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Prosecutors said Mark Sievers was also motivated in part by large life insurance policies on his wife.