Homicide

Suspect in Florida doctor's death gets 6 months for violating federal probation in gun case

One of two Missouri men charged with killing a southwest Florida doctor was sentenced Wednesday for a probation violation that investigators allege put him in the same county where the physician was killed — more than 1,100 miles from his eastern Missouri home — a day before her body was found.

Jimmy Ray Rodgers, 25, of Cadet, was sentenced to six months in prison for violating his probation in a 2011 case in which he pleaded guilty to being a felon in unlawful possession of a firearm.

Terms of his probation barred him from leaving Missouri, but his probation officer said he was seen at a Wal-Mart store in late June in Fort Myers, Florida. The Gulf Coast city is about 20 miles from where 46-year-old Teresa Sievers was found dead in her Bonita Springs home.

Rodgers admitted leaving Missouri during Wednesday's five-minute federal court hearing in St. Louis, but he waived his right to a more robust hearing on the allegations. Asked by U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh if he had anything to say, Rodgers replied: "No, not at this time."

Rodgers' court-appointed attorney, Joan Miller, said after the hearing that Rodgers told her "he didn't know the people in Florida." She declined further comment, and Rodgers hasn't entered a plea in the Florida case.

Assistant federal prosecutor John Bird made only a vague reference to the Florida case during the hearing in St. Louis, referring to the "rather significant" case for which Rodgers had been arrested. He declined comment after the hearing.

According to court documents, Rodgers' probation officer said Rodgers was seen at the Wal-Mart in Fort Myers on June 28, the day before Sievers' body was found. No details about who saw Rodgers were included in the documents. Investigators also haven't said how Sievers died or released a possible motive in the killing.

Curtis Wayne Wright Jr., 47, who grew up with Sievers' husband in Hillsboro, Missouri, has also been arrested in the case. He was being held without bond in Jefferson County, Missouri, pending an extradition hearing on Sept. 30. His attorney didn't return a message seeking comment Wednesday.

Both men were arrested last week on suspicion of second-degree murder. Sievers, a holistic physician and mother of two, had a medical practice in Estero, Florida.

Sheriff Mike Scott in Florida's Lee County, home to Fort Myers and Bonita Springs, said Wednesday that the investigation into Sievers' death is ongoing. He didn't rule out additional arrests, but declined to comment on a possible motive, the two suspects' alleged connection or how Sievers died.

"We believe there's more work to be done," he said.

Scott said he expects Wright to be transferred to Florida within 30 to 60 days, while Rodgers "will step out one cell and right into another" once he completes his federal sentence.

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