The mother of a St. Paul woman who was murdered and dumped in the Mississippi River three years ago is suing her killer for wrongful death.

Marcie Steger is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 from her former son-in-law, Jeffery Trevino, who is serving a 27 1/2-year prison term for killing his wife, Kira Steger.

"As a result of the negligence of Jeffrey (sic) Dale Trevino, Kira Steger died, causing Plaintiff and her family substantial damages through the loss of Kira Steger," said the suit filed Thursday in Ramsey County District Court. "As a result, Plaintiff and her family have been deprived of the companionship, support and other damages due to the death of Kira Steger, over the expected time of her life, and the lives of her next-of-kin."

Actuarial tables predicted that Steger would have lived until about the age of 81, according to the suit.

Jurors convicted Trevino, 42, in October 2013 of second-degree unintentional murder in the killing of Steger, 30. He was acquitted of one count of second degree murder with intent, meaning jurors didn't think he meant to kill her.

Steger was last seen alive on Feb. 21, 2013 on a date night with Trevino at the Mall of America, where she worked. Their three-year-old marriage was in trouble, and Steger wanted a divorce.

She had exchanged several text messages that night with a co-worker with whom she was having an affair. Authorities believe that Trevino killed Steger in their rental home sometime after the last text message was sent about 11:44 p.m., smothering her with a pillow or his hand. She also suffered a cut above her left eyebrow and a broken left index finger.

Trevino was charged soon after Steger's disappearance, but her body went undiscovered until May 8, when it was found in the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul.

"Defendant Jeffrey (sic) Dale Trevino had a duty to avoid inflicting harm against Kira Steger during their dispute or quarrel," the suit said. "Inflicting such harm under these circumstances clearly constitutes negligence."

Attorney Paul Sortland, who is representing Marcie Steger, said that the suit could bring "monetary compensation and solace" to the family.

"Everybody's still hurting," he said. "This will affect them the rest of their lives."

Attorneys for Trevino filed an answer to the suit asking that it be dismissed and denying that he acted negligently.

Trevino unsuccessfully appealed his conviction. He is expected to be released from prison in June 2031, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708

Twitter: @ChaoStrib