Trevino Defense Asks to Dismiss Conviction, Cites Insufficient Legal Basis

By: Associated Press/ WSAW Staff
By: Associated Press/ WSAW Staff
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UPDATE: Thurs 5:51 PM, Oct. 17, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The defense wants a judge to dismiss the murder conviction of a Minnesota man convicted of killing his wife, whose body was found in the Mississippi River months after she disappeared.

An attorney for Jeffery Trevino claims an insufficient legal basis for the jury's verdict this month.

Trevino was convicted Oct. 2 of killing his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger, after a two-week trial. The Star Tribune reports his attorney filed a motion Wednesday arguing that Trevino should be acquitted because the injuries to Steger rose to the level of third-degree assault, not murder.

Prosecutors told jurors that Trevino killed Steger because she was having an affair and wanted to leave their marriage.

Steger was last seen alive Feb. 21. Her body was recovered from the Mississippi in May.

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NEW INFO: 8:55PM

Statement from Kira Steger's family about Trevino guilty verdict:

"Losing Kira has been terribly difficult on our family. We love and miss her, dearly. Our hearts are heavy - nothing can bring Kira back to us. Our family was confident justice would prevail - and it did. We are thankful and grateful for everything everyone has done to support our family. Pura Vida Kira."

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UPDATE: Wed 5:58 PM, Oct. 02, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A jury has found Jeffery Trevino guilty of second-degree murder, but not guilty of second-degree murder with intent in the death of his wife, Kira Steger.

The jurors found that Trevino did kill his wife but that it wasn’t his plan. They say her death happened during his attack.

The St. Paul man was accused of killing his wife in their home last February, then hiding her body in a river.

As the verdict was read, both families could be seen wiping away tears.

The jury of eight men and four women began deliberating for the second day at 8 a.m., worked right through lunch and at 4 p.m. they presented a question to the judge. The jury received the case around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The answer was, “yes, those are all possible combinations.” The question is public information, but won’t be known until the end of the trial.

Steger was last seen on Feb. 21. She was with Trevino at the Mall of America, where her car was later found.

Days after Steger’s disappearance, a bloody pillow, Steger’s sports bra and sweatshirt were found in a bag near Keller Lake.

Her body was found in the Mississippi River on May 8.

Prosecutors claim Trevino killed Steger at their home, then dumped her body in the river. They said he had motive to kill her because she was having an affair and wanted out of their marriage.

The defense argued there wasn’t enough physical evidence to prove Trevino killed her. They say the amount of blood found in the home was only about half a teaspoon’s worth.

Autopsy reports showed she was likely smothered.

The trial has been difficult for both families.

“I feel sorry for both families right now no matter what the outcome,” said Jay Steger, the victim’s father.

Steger and Trevino were together for several years, and they were married for three.

Trevino told families the couple was working on things and planned to continue living together. That is inconsistent with what Steger’s family members testified, saying she wanted to leave him.

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UPDATE: Wed 5:41 PM, Oct. 02, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A jury has reached a verdict in the murder trial of a St. Paul man accused of killing his wife in a jealous rage and dumping her body in the Mississippi River.

The verdict is expected to be announced around 6 p.m. Wednesday. Jurors began deliberations Tuesday and reconvened Wednesday morning.

Jeffrey Trevino is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 30-year-old wife, Kira Steger. Her body was found in the river in May, more than two months after she disappeared.

Kira's father, Jay Steger, says he has put his faith in the hands of the jury. Steger tells KTSP-TV he feels sorry for both families, no matter what the outcome, because Kira loved the Trevino family.

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UPDATE: Wed 9:32 AM, Oct. 2, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A jury in Ramsey County has resumed deliberations in the case of a St. Paul man accused of killing his wife in a jealous rage and dumping her body in the Mississippi River.

Jurors began discussions Tuesday and reconvened Wednesday morning.

Jeffrey Trevino is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 30-year-old wife, Kira Steger. Her body was found in the river in May, more than two months after she disappeared.

Kira's father, Jay Steger, says he has put his faith in the hands of the jury. Steger tells KMSP-TV he feels sorry for both families, no matter what the outcome, because Kira loved the Trevino family.

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UPDATE: Mon 5:13 PM, Oct 1, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Jury deliberations are underway in the murder trial of a St. Paul man accused of killing his wife and dumping her body in the Mississippi River.

The Star Tribune reports jurors began deliberating about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Thirty-nine-tear-old Jeffery Trevino in on trial on two counts of second-degree murder. Trevino is accused of killing his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger, who was last seen alive on Feb. 21. Her body was recovered from the Mississippi River in May.

Prosecutors allege Trevino killed his wife in a jealous rage because she was having an affair and wanted a divorce. The defense has tried to poke holes in the forensic evidence.

The jury will be sequestered during deliberations.

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UPDATE: Mon 7:12 PM, Sept. 30, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A St. Paul man accused of killing his wife won't take the witness stand.

The defense decided not to have Jeffery Trevino testify at his murder trial. Trevino's attorney rested his case Monday without calling any witnesses.

Trevino is on trial in the death of his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger. Steger was last seen alive Feb. 21. Her body was recovered from the Mississippi River in May.

Monday, prosecutors tried to dismantle defense attorney John Conard's theory that Steger's marijuana use could have contributed to her death. A bag of marijuana was found in Steger's purse in her abandoned car at the Mall of America.

Retired St. Paul police Sgt. John Wright testified the marijuana was worth about $20.

The Star Tribune reports closing arguments are scheduled Tuesday.

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UPDATE: Thurs. Sept. 26, 2013 at 5:38 p.m.

A scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says suspected blood spots from a missing St. Paul woman's home and car matched her DNA.

McKenzie Anderson testified Thursday at the murder trial of 39-year-old Jeffery Trevino. Trevino is accused of killing his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger. Steger was last seen alive Feb. 21, and her body was recovered from the Mississippi River in May.

Anderson told the court that several spots of suspected blood from the couple's master bedroom, home and Steger's car trunk matched Steger's DNA. Under cross-examination, defense attorney John Conard attempted to cast doubt about the credibility of some DNA results.

The prosecution is expected to call its last witness Friday. The Star Tribune reports jurors could begin deliberating the case Tuesday.

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UPDATE: Wed. 8:15 PM, Sept. 25, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Ramsey County medical examiner says a St. Paul woman whose body was found in the Mississippi River may have been smothered.

Dr. Michael McGee testified Wednesday in the murder trial of 39-year-old Jeffery Trevino. Trevino is accused of killing his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger. She was last seen alive on Feb. 21, and her body was recovered in May.

McGee says Steger's body was in a state of "advanced decomposition." Under cross-examination by the defense, McGee testified that Steger's body could have been in the water for a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

The Star Tribune reports prosecutors are trying to pin Steger's time of death to sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. Feb. 22 based on food that was found in her stomach.

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UPDATE: Tue 9:00 PM, Sept. 24,2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension scientist says several spots found throughout a missing woman's home tested positive for blood.

But under cross-examination, Lindsey Garfield said that some of those spots were not further tested to confirm results.

Garfield testified Tuesday at the murder trial of 39-year-old Jeffery Trevino of St. Paul. Trevino is accused of killing his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger. Steger was last seen alive on Feb. 21, and her body was found in the Mississippi River more than two months later.

The Star Tribune reports Steger's grandfather, Norman Kelch, testified about finding a plastic bag with a bloody pillow case, pillow and sports bra at Keller Lake on March 16. Authorities say Steger's DNA was found on the evidence.

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UPDATE: Tue 9:33 AM, Sept 24, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A Mall of America security guard says he found blood in the abandoned car of a missing St. Paul woman.

Robert Ritchie testified Monday in the murder trial of 39-year-old Jeffery Trevino. Trevino is accused of killing his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger, who went missing in February. Her body was found in the Mississippi River in May.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Ritchie testified he found a floor mat with apparent blood stains behind the car in the mall parking ramp on Feb. 25. When the car's trunk was popped, Ritchie says he saw more blood inside.

Other testimony consisted of a neighbor's surveillance video. Stills from the recording show lights going on and off in the couple's rental home throughout the early morning of Feb. 22.

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UPDATE: Thur 4:42 PM, Sept 19, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The prosecutor says the case of a Minnesota man accused of killing his wife is about rage, jealousy and deception.

Jurors heard opening statements Thursday in the murder trial of 39-year-old Jeffery Trevino of St. Paul. Trevino faces two counts of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger, who went missing Feb. 22. Her body was found in the Mississippi River on May 8.

Ramsey County prosecutor Andrew Johnson told jurors that Steger "wanted to leave, but he didn't want to let her go."

Johnson says more than 150 small spots of alleged blood evidence were found on the couple's box spring.

The Star Tribune reports defense attorney John Conard countered that "less than a thimble" of Steger's blood was found in the house.
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ORIGINAL STORY: Wed 8:16 PM, Sept 18, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A jury has been selected to hear the murder trial of a St. Paul man accused of killing his wife, who is a graduate of D.C. Everest High School.

Three women and three men were added Wednesday afternoon to the jury for 39-year-old Jeffery Trevino. That brings the total to 14, including two alternates.

Trevino, faces two counts of second-degree murder in the death of his 30-year-old wife, Kira Steger. She went missing Feb. 22. Her body was found in the Mississippi River in May.

Steger worked as co-manager of a clothing store at the Mall of America. A search of the house the couple rented turned up what authorities allege was blood evidence, leading to the charges against Trevino. Her family says she was leaving him.

Opening statements are scheduled Thursday. The trial is scheduled to last three weeks.


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