Attorneys for the prosecution and defense will begin whittling down a pool of potential jurors on Monday as jury selection gets underway in the murder trial of Jeffery Trevino.
Trevino faces two counts of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kira Steger. If convicted, Trevino could face up to 40 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Exploring the Case
The case has drawn national attention ever since Steger went missing in late February. Search parties and volunteers combed Minnesota lakes and parks in hopes of finding any information about Steger’s whereabouts, but police focused their attention on Trevino, who initially called authorities to report his wife was missing. A search of her car and the couple’s home revealed the presence of blood, and even though no body had been found, investigators decided to charge Trevino with murder four days after Steger had gone missing.
A murder charge can be difficult to prove if prosecutors can’t even prove the victim is dead, but the case took another twist in May when divers recovered Steger’s body from the Mississippi River. In addition to the blood evidence, investigators believe the couple’s relationship was on the rocks at the time Steger went missing. Claims of deceit, jealously and infidelity are present in the case, but it will be up to the jury to decide what really happened.
When making their arguments against Trevino, criminal defense attorney Melvin Welch said the burden of proof still lies with the state.
“The state’s going to get out there and lay it all out. This is the evidence,” said Welch.
Welch went on to discuss the case at greater length with Kare 11, but he added that the defense will be quick to point out the circumstantial evidence against their client.
“The defense’s jobs then in their opening statements is going to be to make sure that they point out the different issues that will not be coming up … Evidence that’s coming in may have issues with its reliability,” Welch said.
Similarly to when Welch discussed the Aaron Schaffhausen case, he argued that the defendant could help his position by taking the stand and telling his version of the events.
“It would certainly help his case if he does speak and if what he says is consistent and logical and introduces a plausible explanation that would give the state a big burden they would have to overcome,” he said.
Related sources: Kare 11, Pioneer Press