Jimmy Rodgers trial: New video comes to light of defendant’s trip to Walmart: Day 5

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Jimmy Rodgers in court. Photo via WINK News

As the trial continued Wednesday, the state called their first witness of the day: asset protection manager of a Walmart on Six Mile Cypress Parkway, Jason Duvall. Curtis Wayne Wright and Jimmy Rodgers were said to have been seen on surveillance video in the store the day before Teresa Sievers was murdered.

The defense asked Duvall if he remembered what departments they went in. He replied, saying hardware, chemicals, clothing, and possibly housewares.

Duvall said he was watching the men and saw them check out of the store. He was able to retrieve their receipt. No allegations were made that they had stolen anything.

Next up on the stand was Commander Matthew Sands with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Bureau. He was assigned to the homicide unit back in 2015.

He is the one who reviewed the Walmart surveillance video, looking for Rodgers and Wright. Sands said he saw Rodgers on the video shopping for a red t-shirt. The defense asked him if he could see what other items Rodgers was shopping for in the video. He says it was difficult to see what was in the cart.

Sands said he had an investigative lead that sent him to the Walmart. He pointed to a man who appeared to be Jimmy and said he was one of the two men he was looking for in the surveillance video.

The red t-shirt and a pair of shoes were the only items purchased that could be made out in the video, Sands said.

Next, the state called Jennifer Kircykyan, a digital forensic examiner from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, who analyzed Wright’s cellphone. She says she couldn’t get a complete copy of the phone’s contents, including deleted items. She explains that she was unable to retrieve most of the deleted items without a physical extraction. If something deleted was covered up by new data, you won’t be able to get it, she says.

Following a brief recess, LCSO Forensic Specialist Matthew Deshazo was called to the stand. He analyzed a Garmin GPS unit and found it to be registered to an email with Rodgers’ name in the address.

The data on the GPS revealed coordinates for multiple locations where Rodgers and Wright were possibly seen: The RaceTrac gas station in Brooksville, Florida, and a Shell station in Bushnell, Florida, as well as the Six Mile Cypress Walmart.

During a separate hearing, it was decided to show the jury surveillance video from the Walmart. The video appears to show Rodgers’Rodgers’ shopping trip the day before Sievers was found dead in her home.

When watching the surveillance clips, the witness can only say it “appears” to be Jimmy Rodgers or Wayne Wright. The defense argued against positively confirming one way or the other it was their client in the videos and pictures.

Surveillance video was also shown of the two gas stations (the RaceTrac and Shell), where Deshazo says it appears to show Wright and Rodgers.

The court took a break for lunch around 12:10 p.m. and returned around 1:30 p.m.

The first witness called to the stand after lunch was Rodgers’ ex-girlfriend, Taylor Shomaker.  

She was living with Rodgers at the time of Teresa Sievers’ murder and had gone to stay with her mother while Rodgers was in Florida. 

She said when he came back, he was wearing a red Budwiser t-shirt, just like the one he appeared to have purchased at the Walmart. She says he did not own that shirt prior to the trip. 

The state showed Shomaker a white cooler, which she identified as belonging to Rodgers. She said she remembered giving the police a report and listing items found inside the cooler: a box of gloves, a hammer and dress shoes that he wore. 

Shomaker said the black backpack Rodgers had belonged to her. She remembered being in the home when Rodgers returned. Inside, she says, was the rolled-up jumpsuit. 

Shomaker said the day Rodgers returned from Florida, she told him she was pregnant with his baby. Rodgers told her they needed to go for a ride. First, they went to Doe Run, where Rodgers worked. Shomaker said she waited in the car while he went in and got his phone, put it under a water fountain and crushed it. He had the pieces of the phone when he got back in the car. 

She then said Rodgers told her to throw the pieces out the window. 

As for the backpack, “He told me to throw it out the window into the river on 47,” she said, “but I was, like, in shock and my response delayed and I threw it out a little after the bridge.” 

Next, the state and bailiff showed Shomaker the jumpsuit. She recognized it as Rodgers’ and said it was the one that was in the backpack, the one she threw out the window. 

Shomaker then went on to describe a conversation she and Rodgers had later that night. She said she initiated the conversation, with the hunch that he’d done something wrong. 

“I asked him if he killed her and he said ‘yeah’ and I asked if he shot her with a gun and he said ‘no’ and I asked how and he said ‘with a hammer,’” said Shomaker. 

Shomaker appeared to be visibly frightened, taking deep breaths, crying and hiding her face from Rodgers. 

The court then moved on to a conversation had by Shomaker, Rodgers and Wright at a diner. The state asked Shomaker, “Did Mr. Rodgers have a nickname?”  

“Yes,” she replied.   

“And what was that nickname,” asked the state.  

“Jimmy the Hammer,” said Shomaker. 

She was then shown a photo from the Wrights’ wedding. She was in the photo and acknowledged where it was taken, saying Rodgers was beside her at the time.  

She also noted that this was the first time she’d met Mark Sievers. 

She went on to say that the night before the wedding, she recalled Sievers and Rodgers stepped outside to have a private conversation. 

The state then moved on, asking Shomaker if Rodgers had told her any details on his payment for his trip to Florida. She said he told her he was being paid $10,000, but not for what or from whom. 

The state then handed her a statement she’d previously made, where she said the money would come from Wright and that it came from Teresa Sievers’ life insurance policy. 

Next, the defense cross-examined Shomaker. 

She told them she was just recently married and has four kids, one of them is Rodgers’. 

They pointed out several inconsistencies in several of her statements given to police. 

She said at the time of the recorded law enforcement statements, she was pretty messed up because so much was going on. 

The defense asked her if the police threatened to arrest her or take her kids away. She said she doesn’t recall that happening. 

However, as they are obviously trying to debunk her credibility, the defense stated in a deposition she gave on Nov. 18 that Shomaker did say they threatened to take her kids. 

When asked about speaking with us about the trial, Shomaker said she did, but denied speaking to Dateline, 20/20 or Netflix about her involvement. 

However, Lisa Heslove, who works for a docu-series that is being made, interviewed Shomaker in California. She paid to have her flown out and put up in a hotel.  

After a few more questions, Shomaker is released and the next witness is called to the stand. 

The state asked LCSO Forensic Specialist Michael Lacombe similar questions to that of his counterparts. He explained the software used to examine the GPS, and says he worked with Deshazo to get data off the Garmin in question. 

He said he looked for deleted information in non-allocated spaces of the device, while Deshazo looked through the live section of the GPS.  

The defense then questioned Lacombe, asking him about certain locations on his report that did not have definite time stamps.

He said he tried not to make assumptions but found locations that were within feet of the approximate coordinates. He and Deshazo did this to help the detectives decide where to request surveillance video from for their investigation. 

The jury was then dismissed for the day, around 4:30 p.m. 

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