The attorney representing Jeffery Trevino, who is accused of killing his wife, said Monday that evidence he’s discovered contradicts authorities’ description of the purported murder scene inside Trevino’s St. Paul house.
“I think there was an image of what it looked like inside [the house], and I think that image was false,” defense attorney John Conard said. “And I think it will be shown to be false by the scientific evidence.”
Conard declined to elaborate on the contradictions he found. Conard and Assistant Ramsey County Attorneys Richard Dusterhoft and Andrew Johnson met Monday afternoon to iron out details in preparation for Trevino’s trial, scheduled to start Sept. 16. Trevino, 39, faces two counts of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kira Steger, 30.
“The forensic science came back exactly the way I thought it would, and we look forward to trial,” Conard said.
Court documents allege that “copious amounts of blood evidence were found inside the bedroom on multiple surfaces, on the kitchen floor and the main hallway outside of the bedroom” at the house Trevino and Steger rented in the 500 block of E. Iowa Avenue. Authorities also allege that they found evidence of “extensive cleanup efforts,” possible blood and human tissue inside a carpet cleaner and a “large stain in the shape of a human head and torso.”
Trevino’s trial is expected to run three weeks. Lawyers agreed Monday that witnesses will be sequestered, but that they would waive sequestration on a case-by-case basis for family members and friends who want to watch the trial and will not be recalled to the witness stand. Dusterhoft said that Steger’s family members and friends made that request.
Attorneys are expected to vet 50 potential jurors Sept. 16 and 17. Testimony could begin on Sept. 18.
Last month prosecutors filed a memorandum seeking to prohibit cross-examination about St. Paul police officer Brian Mefford’s mishandling of evidence in unrelated cases. Mefford was suspended for a day without pay for improperly storing files and a magazine and ammunition. He later helped process Steger’s car in the murder case as a member of the crime lab.
Monday, Dusterhoft said they were dropping the matter because Mefford, who was eventually removed from the crime lab, was not expected to be called as a witness. Dusterhoft said the prosecution’s witness list was down to 70 people and would likely be cut further.
Conard said Trevino, who appeared in court Monday in an orange jumpsuit, plans to wear civilian clothing during his trial.
Steger failed to show up for work as co-manager of the clothing retailer, Delia’s, at the Mall of America on Feb. 22. Trevino reported her missing to police on Feb. 24, the same day he notified her family in Wisconsin.
A search of their home on Feb. 25 led to Trevino’s arrest and the filing of charges, and an extensive public search for Steger’s body soon began. Her car was also found abandoned in a mall ramp with blood evidence.
Police found that Steger had been romantically linked to another man whom she exchanged text messages with the last night she was seen alive, Feb. 21, while she was having dinner with Trevino at the Mall of America. Police found the man’s address written in Trevino’s car.
Divorce papers were found in Steger’s purse, and family members told police she wanted to leave her husband. Steger’s body was found May 8 in the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul.