After denying a motion to overturn the verdict convicting him of murder, a judge sentenced Jeffery Trevino to serve 27 and a half years for killing his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger.
The judge cited several aggravating factors as he paved the way for enhanced prison time, saying that concealing Steger's body added anguish for her family.
Massive search efforts stretched months and miles as loved ones and strangers banded together to search for her, eventually locating some of the evidence used in trial before Steger's body was found in the Mississippi River.
District Judge Leonardo Castro tore into Trevino over his "callousness," leaving the courtroom in stunned silence when he delivered the sentence at about 4 p.m.
Castro echoed the jury's findings when he said he believed Trevino did not set out to kill his wife; however, he said the cover-up effort was clearly planned, describing it as "cruel and selfish."
Trevino, 37, arrived in his orange jailhouse jumpsuit shortly after 2:30 p.m. on Monday. He declined to address the court, marking a continuation of the silence he maintained throughout the trial.
When Trevino left, he looked back at his family and someone said, "Jeff, we love you."
VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENTS
Victim impact statements began shortly after 2:35 p.m. as Kira Steger's father rose to share his. Many members of her family made emotional pleas to the judge.
"Jeffery Trevino is a monster, calculated and criminal. He deserves no mercy," Steger's sister said.
On Sunday night, Kira Steger's mother, Marcie, told Fox 9 News she hoped the judge would sentence Trevino to 30 years; however, a legal expert said that because of the defense's effort to highlight his military service and clean criminal history, it was unlikely the judge would. The defense had asked for a sentence of 10 years.
Typically, defendants convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, as Trevino was, would face between 10-13 years; however, his conduct after the death led to a more severe punishment.
In court on Monday, Marci Steger's impact statement was the final one read, and she fought through tears to describe her heartbreaking journey as she plead for the maximum penalty.
Trevino sat at the defense table for the duration, which was located behind and to the left of the family statements. He sat upright and appeared focused on what was being said about him and his fate.
A collective sigh was heard in the courtroom after the statements were finished, and a brief recess was called prior to the sentencing.
Once the sentence was revealed, Steger's family joined Ramsey County Attorney John Choi outside the courthouse to say they are pleased with the enhanced sentence. All of Steger's relatives said that though the 27-year sentence is more than they expected, they still know that nothing will bring Kira back.
"It still doesn't seem like enough," Keri Ann Steger admitted. "It's more than we expected, and Jeffery Trevino will remain in prison for a very long time."