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Associated Press, Published September 30 2013

Minnesota man accused of killing wife doesn't testify

ST. PAUL — The husband of a St. Paul woman whose body was found in the Mississippi River more than two months after she disappeared decided not to take the witness stand at his murder trial as the defense rested Monday without calling any witnesses.

Jeffery Trevino, 39, is on trial in Ramsey County on two counts of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger. Steger was last seen alive Feb. 21. Her body was recovered from the river on May 8.

Both the prosecution and defense rested their cases in the morning after Trevino decided not to testify in his own behalf.

On Monday, prosecutors tried to dismantle defense attorney John Conard's theory that Steger's marijuana use could have contributed to her death. A bag of marijuana was found in Steger's purse in her abandoned car in the Mall of America parking ramp.

Retired St. Paul police Sgt. John Wright testified the marijuana's value was "minimal" and was worth about $20.

Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Richard Dusterhoft asked Wright if in his 30 years as an officer, he had ever seen a robbery victim disposed of in a river.

"I can't remember one case where a victim of a robbery was disposed of in the river," Wright said.

Dusterhoft asked Wright how often a pillow is the weapon of choice in a robbery. Earlier testimony revealed that Steger was likely smothered by a hand or pillow, and that a bloody pillow and pillow case was found with her DNA on it.

Never, Wright said, adding that handguns and long guns are typically used in robberies.

Conard, the defense attorney, had asked Wright last week if marijuana dealers' houses are dangerous, and whether dealers and buyers are robbed with "surprising frequency."

On Monday, Conard argued unsuccessfully to dismiss the charges against Trevino, saying that prosecutors haven't proven their case and relied on the "urban legend that the husband always does it." Judge Leonardo Castro denied the request.

Closing arguments are scheduled Tuesday, the Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/16DcNPC ) reported. The jury of six women and eight men, two of whom are alternates, will be sequestered for deliberations.


Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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