Jury finds Trevino guilty of unintentional murder

Jeffery Trevino

Kira Steger

Faces up to 25 years in prison

The family of Kira Steger says justice has been served after Ramsey County District Court jurors found Steger's husband, Jeffery Trevino, 39, guilty of unintentional second-degree murder. The jury was handed the case on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and deliberated for 17 hours before returning to the court with their findings the evening of Oct. 2.

Trevino had been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one intentional and the other unintentional. Over the course of the eight-day trial, prosecutors called 42 witnesses to the stand to testify about the couple's relationship and the search for Steger's body and to explain autopsy reports. The defense did not call any witnesses.

Steger, 30, was missing for more than two months before her body, naked with several injuries, was recovered from the Mississippi River in May. A timeline described by the prosecution says she was killed by "homicidal violence" at the couple's home on the East Side of St. Paul between midnight and 2 a.m. Feb. 22.

Medical examiners testified that the autopsy could point to smothering as the cause of death. A pillow was among several bloody items found in a bag during a volunteer search at Keller Lake Park in Maplewood. 

Trevino now faces a departure from state sentencing guidelines of up to 25 years in prison if the judge finds aggravating factors, including that he hid the body in order to "evade detection by the police" and that he "failed to render aid" to his wife. Trevino waived the right to have a jury determine whether the factors were present, instead opting for Judge Leonardo Castro to decide his fate at a sentencing hearing scheduled for Nov. 25.

Trevino's attorney, John Conard, estimates he will receive about 20 years due to his clean criminal history.

Johanna Holub can be reached at jholub@lillienews.com or 651-748-7822.

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