The badly decomposed body of Kira Trevino will take more than a month to fully examine, Ramsey County prosecutors said Friday in a court filing in which they asked for more time to analyze evidence.
And that evidence could bolster the case the county is building against her husband, Jeffery Trevino, 39, who faces two counts of second-degree murder in her disappearance.
According to a motion filed Friday, the naked body of Kira Trevino, who was found in the river near downtown St. Paul earlier this week and identified Thursday, had numerous injuries including a head wound, broken finger, bruising inside her upper lip and lacerations to her liver.
The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office identified her based on dental records.
Trevino, 30, was last seen alive Feb. 21. Though she was known widely as Kira Trevino, her legal last name had remained Steger after her marriage.
Jeffery Trevino’s lawyers had requested that all scientific testing be completed and disclosed by May 15; however, prosecutors say that it would be impossible for testing to be finished by then.
Prosecutors have requested more DNA analysis of blood samples collected at the couple’s Payne-Phalen home.
In addition, prosecutors say that the injuries to Trevino’s body should be further examined to determine if her wounds happened before or after her death and to determine her manner of death. The medical examiner’s office found partly digested food in her stomach, which could lead to a more precise time of death.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has indicated that the DNA analysis will take four weeks. The medical examiner’s office said the complete autopsy report will require six weeks.
“While the state appreciates the reasons for the deadline which was previously set, the necessity for additional time for testing is the fault of the defendant and his attempt to hide the body and the evidence of the crime,” Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Richard Dusterhoft said in the motion. “What is clear from the circumstances surrounding Ms. Steger’s disappearance is that she died at the hands of another and that violence was involved.”
Prosecutors have requested that the new deadline for testing be rescheduled at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
Dennis Gerhardstein, spokesman for the Ramsey County attorney’s office, said that prosecutors are planning to file an amended complaint sometime early next week but couldn’t say if charges could change from second-degree to first-degree murder. “We can’t really speculate on that at this time,” he said.
Gerhardstein said a decision could be made Wednesday on whether the trial would be postponed.
Jeffery Trevino’s lawyers couldn’t be reached, but local attorneys said that the discovery of the body was a significant development in the case.
“It’s a whole different game now,” said Arthur Martinez, a Minneapolis forensic attorney.
The body is going to help the prosecution tie the case together better by providing a new slew of forensic evidence, he said. The extent of the injuries also could provide evidence that her murder could have been premeditated, Martinez said.
“I think the more important thing here is that it’s going to simplify the case,” said local criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Marsh Halberg.
Having the body eliminates the possibility that she just ran away, Halberg said. While finding the body alone may not be enough to show premeditation, with other evidence it could substantiate the claim, he said.
“[The body] may help strengthen that other evidence like a one-two punch for the state,” Halberg said.
Photos of the body also could be a tool for prosecutors in terms of their potential emotional effect on a jury, he said.
“You are not just talking about a name,’’ Halberg said. “You see a picture.”