From dreams to nightmare, a key witness describes life before, after Sievers killing

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FILE: Taylor Shomaker in May 2016. (Credit: WINK News/FILE)
FILE: Taylor Shomaker in May 2016. (Credit: WINK News/FILE)

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The murder. The arrests. All of it didn’t feel real to Taylor Shomaker until Wednesday.

It was her words that helped lead to the arrests of her then-boyfriend, Jimmy Ray Rodgers, his friend, Curtis Wayne Wright, and Wright’s childhood friend, Mark Sievers, in the June 2015 killing of Dr. Teresa Sievers.

The three men initially faced second-degree murder charges. Wright accepted a plea deal and is expected to testify against Rodgers and Mark Sievers, who were both indicted by a grand jury on first-degree murder charges Wednesday.

Grand juries, which are usually held in secret, allow prosecutors to present their case to jurors, who then decide if there’s enough evidence to bring charges. In Florida, a grand jury indictment is required only for capital offenses – where the sentence could be the death penalty – but are also utilized in cases of alleged wrongdoing by public officials.

Wednesday’s indictment gives prosecutors the option to seek the death penalty against Rodgers and Mark Sievers.

Shomaker, who flew from Missouri, was in Fort Myers on Wednesday. She couldn’t say if she testified before jurors, or even if she was in the courtroom.

But in her first and only media interview, she talked about life before and after Rodgers’ trip to Florida.

“It was very scary when I first found out,” she said of the killing. “It was like…like I didn’t know what to do. I was scared. You find out something so horrible, and you’re just like this is real.”

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