Jeffery Trevino was sentenced Monday to 27 1/2 years in prison for the death of his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger, and her family members said they were grateful.
“This monster is a calculated criminal,” Steger's sister Keri Anne Steger said after the sentencing, the Star Tribune reported. “He deserves no mercy.” Steger’s mother, Marcie Steger, said she felt relief at the sentencing, “like the courthouse lifted off my shoulders,” the Star Tribune reported.
Ramsey County District Judge Leonardo Castro said that he believes that Trevino did not set out to kill his wife, the Pioneer Press reported. But what Trevino did with her body was "dishonorable, depraved and malicious," the judge said.
KSTP reported that Jay Steger, Kira Steger's father, who led some efforts to find her body before it was found in the Mississippi River, said, "If they would have gave him 75 years or 100 years it wouldn't have been enough, because he will eventually get to see the light of day, and my daughter will not. There is not enough time in the world that would have been appropriate enough for me."
Trevino's lawyer John Conard said, "I think an appeal is likely," the Pioneer Press reported.
Last month, a Ramsey County jury convicted Trevino, 30, of second-degree unintentional murder. He was acquitted of the more serious charge of second-degree intentional murder.
The Star Tribune reports Castro denied an earlier motion by Trevino's attorney for acquittal before announcing the sentence.
Steger last was seen alive on Feb. 21 while on a date night with Trevino at the Mall of America. He reported her missing to police on Feb. 24, and her body was recovered from the Mississippi River on May 8.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Trevino killed Steger at their St. Paul home because she was having an affair and wanted a divorce, while Trevino was trying to save the marriage. They said Trevino then tried to cover up the slaying by dumping her body in the river and leaving her car at the Mall of America.
The defense claimed there was not enough physical evidence to prove that Trevino killed her. Conard did not call any witnesses; Trevino did not take the stand.
Prosecutors had requested a 30-year prison sentence -- more than twice the prison time generally sought in similar cases -- based on "aggravating factors" in the case, including the fact that Steger's body was missing for more than two months.
Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Andrew Johnson argued that Trevino kept silent about the whereabouts of his wife's body, while Trevino's attorney, Conard, said Trevino was exercising his Fifth Amendment right.
Conard had asked that Trevino be granted 10 1/2 years in prison, citing his military service and a previously clean criminal record.