TREVINO VERDICT: Guilty of unintentional second-degree murder - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

VERDICT: Jurors find Jeffery Trevino guilty of murder without intent

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Ramsey County Attorney John Choi speaks on Trevino verdict | Photo by Paul Blume Ramsey County Attorney John Choi speaks on Trevino verdict | Photo by Paul Blume
Jeffery Trevino and Kira Steger Jeffery Trevino and Kira Steger
Kira Steger Kira Steger
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

After 17 hours of deliberation and a question to the judge, the jurors in the murder trial of Jeffery Trevino acquitted him of intentional second-degree murder but convicted him of second-degree murder without intent on Wednesday evening.

"Kira would be happy with today's verdict if she was here," Marcy Steger, the victim's mother, said after the verdict she waited seven months to hear was read.

Trevino faced two counts of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger. In the end, jurors found Trevino was responsible for Steger's death; however, they did not believe he intended to kill her that night in February.

The lesser charge indicates Steger was killed during the commitment of a felony -- namely, killed during a violent assault.

The maximum sentence for a second-degree murder conviction is 40 years imprisonment; however, the charge of murder without intent will likely carry a shorter sentence. Yet, the length of the sentence could still be influenced by the cover-up effort since hiding the body caused Steger's family additional anguish.

"The amount of time he's looking at isn't enough. Don't care. Even if it's 100 years, it still wouldn't be enough because we'll never have our daughter back," Jay Steger, Kira's father, told FOX 9 News. "Our family will never be the same."

Trevino will be sentenced Nov. 25.

The jury, comprised of eight men and four women, announced they had reached their decision shortly before 5:30 p.m. as the second day of deliberation neared a close. 

"It was the hardest 17 hours of my life -- just sitting, waiting," Jay Steger admitted. "Waiting, it seemed to take days -- felt more like three to four days than 17 hours."

Trevino showed no emotion as the verdict was read, but audible crying filled the courtroom. FOX 9 News attempted to contact Trevino's family for comment; however, they declined to speak.

"We respect the jury and the hard work they did, but we are disappointed in the outcome," John Conard, defense attorney for Trevino, said after the trial.

Two jurors who spoke with FOX 9 News outside the courtroom admitted they were exhausted by the trial, but they said the overwhelming number of circumstances in the case led to their decision, not one particular piece of evidence.

"It was a hard decision," Katie Saumur said. "We spent a lot of time going over all the evidence, discussing issues -- a lot of raw emotion involved with this case."


FOX 9's Paul Blume followed the entire trial on Twitter. Follow @PaulBlume_FOX9.


Steger's disappearance in late February sparked massive volunteer search efforts after her car was found abandoned in the Mall of America parking lot, where she worked as a manager at Delia's clothing store.

"This case touched the community so greatly," Choi said.

In all, Steger was missing for 76 days. Her body was recovered from the Mississippi River on May 8, 2013.

Trevino was arrested shortly after her disappearance and has remained in the Ramsey County Jail on $1 million bail since.

As police and prosecutors built their case against him, Steger's family and friends said she had grown unhappy with their marriage and planned to move out. During trial, prosecutors revealed she was also having an affair with her district manager as they argued the circumstantial evidence against Trevino pointed to a violent outburst of "rage, jealousy, deception and cover-up."

"This was an intentional act," Ramsey County prosecutor Rick Dusterhoft told the jury during closing statements. "Violent, intimate, up close -- that tells you something about who did this."

Meanwhile, the defense attempted to cast doubt on the forensic science that put the crime scene in the couple's St. Paul home while offering an alternative theory to who may have killed her. After revealing a small quantity of marijuana was found in Steger's purse, Conard argued that drug houses can be dangerous; however, no trace of the drug was found during Steger's autopsy and her family was very upset by the allegations.

During the 10-day trial, prosecutors called a total of 42 witnesses. The defense cross-examined some but called none.

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