ST. PAUL, Minnesota — A Minnesota man convicted of unintentionally killing his wife and dumping her body in the Mississippi River was sentenced Monday to 27 years in prison.
Attorneys argued over whether Jeffery Trevino, 39, of St. Paul should be sentenced to about 10 years or 30 years in prison for the murder of 30-year-old Kira Steger. Ramsey County District Judge Leonardo Castro gave Trevino a prison sentence above state guidelines.
Steger's family gave emotional impact statements during Trevino's sentencing hearing, all requesting a 30-year sentence.
"This monster is a calculated criminal," said sister Keri Anne Steger. "He deserves no mercy."
Keri Anne Steger told Castro a 30-year sentence would still be less than the 348 months and 29 days she had with Kira, who grew up near Wausau, Wisconsin
The judge denied the defense's earlier motion for acquittal. Castro also said there were aggravating factors, meriting a prison sentence beyond state sentencing guidelines, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1aNC49a) reported.
Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Andrew R.K. Johnson requested the 30-year sentence based on aggravating factors, arguing that Trevino didn't provide medical aid to Kira Steger, and that he disposed of her body and didn't tell anyone. Steger's body was found in the river more than two months after she disappeared.
Sentencing guidelines call for a maximum 15 years in prison.
Trevino's attorney, John Conard, had argued his client should get about 10.5 years. The lower sentence is adequate, Conard wrote, because Trevino served in the military, had a clean criminal record and was protected by the Fifth Amendment from making any statements about Steger's death and body.
A Ramsey County jury convicted Trevino of second-degree unintentional murder in October. He was acquitted of second-degree intentional murder, which carries a longer prison sentence.
"While today's decision brings to a close the final chapter of the legal part of this tragic case, the defendant's actions have forever changed the lives of those who knew and loved Kira. I want the community to understand that and encourage our community to keep the Steger family in their thoughts and prayers," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement Monday.
Prosecutors maintained that Trevino killed Kira Steger because she was having an affair with a male co-worker and wanted a divorce while Trevino wanted to save their marriage. She was last seen alive in public on a date night with Trevino at the Mall of America in Bloomington on Feb. 21. Her body was recovered from the Mississippi River on May 8.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com