The court shouldn’t grant a request to throw out Jeffery Trevino’s murder conviction because evidence and case law support upholding it, a prosecutor argued in a memorandum filed Friday.
Trevino, 39, was convicted by jurors in Ramsey County District Court on Oct. 2 of second-degree unintentional murder in the death of his wife, Kira Steger, 30. Trevino’s attorney, John Conard, filed a motion earlier this month seeking to have his client’s conviction thrown out for lack of legal basis.
Conard argued that prosecutors didn’t prove that Trevino killed Steger in February. He also said that Steger’s injuries rose to the level of third-degree assault while Minnesota law requires second- or first-degree assault for a conviction on second-degree unintentional murder, also known as felony murder.
Steger suffered a broken finger, which didn’t rise to that level, Conard said, and there was no evidence that a cut above her eyebrow caused her death.
Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Andrew Johnson argued in his rebuttal that both injuries occurred “during the same, uninterrupted course of conduct as the mechanism of death.”
Johnson cited testimony by Ramsey County Medical Examiner Dr. Michael McGee, who testified that the cut above Steger’s eyebrow would have bled profusely unless someone provided medical aid, and that someone likely smothered her with a hand or pillow.
“… there was no 911 call, no trip to the hospital, and the visible blood was limited to the bedroom,” Johnson wrote. “When one considers all the things the defendant would have had to have done during this time period, it is overwhelmingly likely that the assault was one continuous event with no significant temporal gaps.”
Johnson and Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Richard Dusterhoft argued at trial that Trevino killed Steger because she was texting a lover while on a date night with Trevino. She wanted a divorce, prosecutors said, while Trevino was still trying to save their marriage.
Friends testified that Trevino and Steger began having marriage problems about the time she was hired as co-manager of Delia’s, a clothing retailer at the Mall of America. Steger became friends with the district manager, who hired her, and the two began an affair in January 2013.
Steger and Trevino had a date night at the mall on Feb. 21, the last time she was seen alive in public. Her body was discovered in the Mississippi River on May 8. Prosecutors believe she was murdered in their St. Paul home shortly after texting her lover.
Johnson also argued in his memo filed Friday that case law supports using third-degree assault for a felony murder conviction.
District Court Judge Leonardo Castro will decide the matter at a future date.
Trevino is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 25.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708