Updated: 10/03/2013 7:40 AM
Created: 09/30/2013 10:58 AM KSTP.com
By: Leslie Dyste
After 17 hours of deliberations, a Ramsey County jury reached a verdict Wednesday in the murder trial of Jeffery Trevino, who was accused of killing his wife, Kira Steger.
Trevino was found not guilty on count one, murder with intent, and guilty on count two, murder without intent.
As the verdict was read, some of the Steger family began to cry quietly. As Trevino's mother heard her son was convicted, she burst into tears. At one point she said "I can't breathe," according to KSTP reporter Tim Sherno, who was in the courtroom at the time.
Trevino's family left the building first. They were emotional but would not comment on the verdict.
Moments later, holding each other close, the Steger family left the courtroom with mixed emotions.
Steger's parents spoke following the verdict. Her mother, Marcie, said, "You know, there's the fact that we'll never get to see her again." She also said she believes Kira would be "very happy" that Trevino was found guilty.
"We will never have our daughter back, but at least justice has been done," Kira Steger's father, Jay, said. He said he tried to contact the Trevino family to say he knows what they're going through and that none of this was their fault.
The family will now plan funeral arrangements. Jay Steger says he plans on putting her ashes in Costa Rica because that's where she always wanted to be.
The jury had been deliberating for its second day Wednesday after failing to reach a verdict Tuesday. The jurors deliberated for more than eight hours Tuesday before being sequestered in a hotel overnight.
Trevino, 39, was on trial in Ramsey County District Court, charged with two counts of second-degree murder. Steger, 30, went missing in February. Her body was found more than two months later in the Mississippi River.
"In deep trouble," is how prosecutors described Steger and Trevino's marriage. They admit Steger cheated on her husband, but in closing arguments they said it was no reason for murder.
Prosecutors claim Trevino went on a jealous rage in their St. Paul home and suffocated Steger with a pillow, then dumped her bruised and battered body into the Mississippi River. Prosecutors say it was a violent death.
The defense said in closing arguments Trevino didn't kill Steger and the state doesn't have proof he committed the crime. They claimed less than a thimble of Steger's blood was found in their bedroom and Trevino didn't try to cover up the murder.
The jury heard testimony from a security guard at the Mall of America, where Steger worked and her vehicle was found. A forensic scientist had testified about blood found in the couple's home and Steger's vehicle. Also, a police sergeant has testified about questioning Trevino after his wife went missing.
Trevino believed his wife was having an affair, according to the prosecution. Those suspicions were confirmed when Steger's former boss at a clothing store she worked testified. He said he started having an affair with Steger in the middle of February, around the time she went missing.
Trevino will be sentenced Monday, Nov. 25.
Warning: the criminal complaint contains graphic and disturbing details. Click here to read the complaint.