In one jailhouse call, Jeffery D. Trevino asked family members to retrieve a briefcase from under his bed that contained a passport.
In another, he urged them not to put any of their houses up as collateral to bail him out of jail.
Those calls that the 39-year-old St. Paul man accused of murdering his wife made were monitored and a Ramsey County prosecutor said they add up to a plan by Trevino to flee — if he could make bail.
“The implication is he intends to flee and he doesn’t want anyone to lose their house,” Assistant County Attorney Richard Dusterhoft told Ramsey County District Judge Rosanne Nathanson during a hearing Thursday.
Dusterhoft later said that police had already confiscated the briefcase and passport.
Trevino’s attorney, John Conard, argued that his client’s $1 million bail should be reduced because the high amount was unreasonable and unaffordable, thereby negating the protection bail is supposed to provide.
Trevino is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the disappearance of his wife, Kira Trevino, 30, who was last seen alive on Feb. 21. Authorities presume she is dead based on “copious” amounts of blood found in a house the couple rented in St. Paul’s Payne-Phalen neighborhood.
Judge Teresa Warner surprised the courtroom in late February by setting Trevino’s bail at $1 million after he was arrested and charged, even though a prosecutor only sought $500,000. Conard sought $100,000 at that time.
Conard said Thursday that Trevino was not a flight risk because he has family in the area, including a 14-year-old daughter, is not a safety risk to the public and has no criminal history. He argued that defendants have a right to a reasonable bail so they can await trial out of custody, and that Trevino would volunteer for GPS tracking and other monitoring. It was unclear if Conard knew of the monitored jailhouse calls.
“Your honor,” Conard said, “Mr. Trevino has a right to bail. It’s not a protection for the court. It’s not a protection for the prosecutor.”
Nathanson denied Conard’s motion to reduce bail.
Kira Trevino was last seen leaving the Mall of America on Feb. 21 after having dinner there with her husband. She worked at Delia’s, a clothing retailer.
Conard described the evidence against his client as “conflicting at best.”
According to court documents, surveillance video showed a person dropping off Kira Trevino’s car at a mall ramp about 9:45 a.m. on Feb. 22 and tossing out a trunk liner that was later found to have human blood on it. GPS technology and video surveillance showed that the person then took a cab from the mall to the 600 block of E. Iowa Avenue, a block from the Trevinos’ house. Her family members have told police that she had thought about leaving her husband.
Conard tried to pinpoint weaknesses in the state’s case, noting that much of the evidence that led to Trevino’s arrest and charges was based on presumptive tests, not final results that could be presented at trial. Conard also said that the night of Feb. 21, the Trevinos’ roommate was sleeping in the basement under the master bedroom, where authorities said they found copious amounts of blood and a bloodstain in the shape of a human head and torso.
The driver of the “mystery cab” at the mall could not identify the passenger when presented with a photo lineup, Conard said. Trevino was spotted driving his own car that morning, he added.
Dusterhoft was quick and forceful in his retort, noting that DNA tests completed this week matched blood found in “significant and numerous” locations in the Trevinos’ house to Kira Trevino.
Video of Jeffery Trevino in his car at 8:15 a.m. show him wearing the same clothes as the person captured on mall video in his wife’s car and in the cab, Dusterhoft said.
“The body of the victim is still out there and could be tampered with,” Dusterhoft said.
Trevino is scheduled to appear in court March 29.