St. Paul man charged with 2nd-degree murder in wife's disappearance

  • Article by: JOY POWELL and CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: March 1, 2013 - 3:02 PM

Police say ample evidence led to charges against husband Jeffery Trevino — and $1 million bail.

 

The presence of an extraordinary amount of human blood in the home and car of a missing St. Paul woman led prosecutors on Friday to make the rare move of filing murder charges against her husband despite the absence of a body.

Jeffery Trevino, 39, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 30-year-old wife, Kira, missing for a week. In another unusual move, the judge doubled the amount of bail prosecutors had requested for Trevino, setting it at $1 million.

Blood was found throughout the Trevino home, with the largest amounts near the bed in the master bedroom, including a large stain in the shape of a human head and torso, authorities say. In addition, clotted blood or human tissue was found in a carpet cleaner, and the blood-soaked trunk liner of her car, found parked in a remote area of the Mall of America, was found near the car.

The palpable tension at the bail hearing, attended by many members of both Kira and Jeffery Trevino’s families, broke somewhat when Ramsey County District Judge Teresa R. Warner doubled the requested bail. Keri Anne Steger, Kira Trevino’s sister, threw her hands in the air and loudly smacked them in triumph.

Steger, who championed the search for her sister, was unable to sit during much of the hearing and instead crouched on a courtroom bench, cupping her hands to her face in stress.

Unhappy in her marriage for months, Kira had begun telling her family and others she might move out and that Jeffery had been snooping in her bank accounts, charging documents say.

Charging someone with murder without a corpse is highly unusual. Typically, prosecutors lose such cases once they get before juries.

But there’s much evidence in this case and inconsistencies in Jeffery Trevino’s statements, court records show. Evidence includes video from the Mall of America of Kira’s car pulling into a lot and someone, whose identity isn’t clear, throwing away something. Her bloody car-trunk liner was later recovered.

“The defendant took a number of actions to be evasive and cover up this murder,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

Choi said Trevino has not been cooperative in helping officers find the body.

Still, prosecutors believe they have enough evidence, including the presence of blood and the fact that it was highly unusual for the dependable Kira Trevino to not show up for work, Choi said.

Although it’s tough to get a conviction without a body, it’s not unheard of. In 2008, Samantha Heiges was convicted in Dakota County of killing her newborn, whose body was never found. Heiges, of Burnsville, had confessed to killing the child.

Marsh Halberg, a defense attorney who once worked as a prosecutor, cited another such conviction, that of Donald Blom for kidnapping and murdering convenience store clerk Katie Poirer in 1999. Blom is serving a life sentence without parole.

Trevino was arrested Tuesday afternoon after a search of the couple’s home in the 500 block of E. Iowa Avenue in St. Paul yielded copious amounts of blood and signs that someone had been trying to clean it up with bleach and detergent.

Kira Trevino was a manager at Delia’s clothing shop at the Mall of America. She failed to report to work on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23, which was highly uncharacteristic. She’d usually arrive early and stay late.

“That was the biggest red flag,” said her mother, Marcie Steger.

Just before 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Trevino reported his wife missing, claiming that she left home to run errands and then didn’t show up for her mall shift. Trevino told police his wife was having a “midlife crisis.”

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  • Kira Trevino’s sister, Keri Anne Steger, center, was surrounded by friends and family Thursday as she made her way into the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center for Jeffery D. Trevino’s arraignment. Kira Trevino, a mall store manager, disappeared a week ago.

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  • Jeffery D. Trevino’s family and attorney made their way out of the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center after showing up for his arraignment Thursday. Ramsey County District Judge Teresa R. Warner doubled the requested bail amount.

  • If you have info

    Anyone with info is asked to call police at 651-266-5650.


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