The Minnesota Court of Appeals issued a decision Monday upholding the murder conviction of Jeffery Trevino, who killed his wife in February 2013 and disposed of her body in the Mississippi River.
Trevino, 41, had challenged his conviction at a January hearing before the Appeals Court. His attorney, John Conard, argued that his conviction should be reversed, that he should be granted a new trial, and that his 27½-year aggravated prison sentence should be dramatically reduced because of erroneous interpretations of the law and circumstantial evidence at trial.
Jurors convicted Trevino in October 2013 of second-degree unintentional murder in the killing of Kira Steger, 30.
The Appeals Court decision said that the district court didn’t abuse its power in instructing jurors about circumstantial evidence and that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction. Trevino’s sentence, based on the concealment of Steger’s body, was within the district court’s right.
The prison term is nearly twice the maximum recommended by state guidelines.
Regarding the sentence, Judge Louise Bjorkman wrote, “By the time Steger’s body was discovered, it was deteriorated to the point of being unidentifiable without forensic testing and dental-record comparison. Steger’s family experienced further distress at observing her body in this state.
“These unchallenged factual findings support the district court’s assessment that Trevino acted with particular cruelty for which he should be held responsible.”
Steger was last seen alive on Feb. 21, 2013. That night, she exchanged several text messages with a man with whom she was having an affair. Authorities believe that Trevino killed Steger sometime after the last text message was sent about 11:44 p.m.
Trevino was quickly charged in his wife’s death, but her body went undiscovered until May 8, when it was found in the Mississippi River.
According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Trevino’s expected release date is June 26, 2031.