After jury selection wrapped on Wednesday, opening arguments began in the murder trial of Jeffery Trevino on Thursday.
Trevino, 39, faces two counts of second-degree murder in the death of his 30-year-old wife, Kira Steger.
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A large group of Kira Steger's family members sat just feet away from Trevino as the trial got underway, with her father in the front row mere feet away from the man accused of killing his daughter.
STATE: RAGE, JEALOUSY AND DECEPTION
During opening statements, prosecutors said "this is a case about rage, jealousy, deception and a cover up," and displayed beautiful pictures of her on a projector for the jury to see.
Prosecutors also acknowledged Steger was having an affair with her district manager at Delia's, saying "a failed marriage came to an abrupt and gruesome end."
Speaking directly to the jurors, prosecutors also told them they "will find some things frustrating" as they consider the case -- including the roommate who lived in the basement who did not hear or see a thing.
Even so, prosecutors insisted the evidence to prove Jeffery Trevino killed his wife is there, pointing extensively to an autopsy that revealed the contents of Kira Steger's stomach show her last meal was the one she ate with her husband at Crave, a restaurant in the Mall of America.
DEFENSE QUESTIONS MURDER SCENE
Charging documents state large amounts of blood and signs of an attempted cleanup were found inside the couple's rental home, but Trevino's attorney, John Conard, began his opening statement by saying the authorities' claims are inaccurate and forensic evidence will contradict the police description.
Conard said in opening statements that "less than a thimble" of Steger's blood was found in the couple's home, and he questioned whether or not the photos of alleged blood stains in the home depicted a murder scene.
Conard also cast doubt on the findings of the autopsy, describing them as inconclusive and questioning whether her body was in the Mississippi River from the time she went missing to the time her body was pulled -- a period of 76 days.
"Ignore sympathy, ignore what you heard and urban legend," Conard said, referring to prototypical cases in which husbands are at fault.
KIRA'S SISTERS, MOTHER TESTIFY
Ramsey County prosecutors called Kira Steger's sister to the stand as the first witness. She told jurors her sister was unhappy and ready to move on from her relationship.
Kira Steger's mother, Marci Steger, echoed those statements on Thursday, recalling a conversation with her daughter where Kira said, "I just don't want to go home." Weeks later, she disappeared.
Marci Steger also told jurors about the call she received from Jeffery Trevino to tell her that her daughter was missing.
Keri Anne Steger, another one of Kira's sisters, choked up on the stand as she remembered wondering why Jeffery Trevino never smiled in family photos. She also said that when Jeffery Trevino called to tell her Kira had gone missing, he said "I loved her" and she noticed his use of the past tense.
The final witness of the day was the couple's former roommate, Matthew Roff. His testimony marked the first time he spoke publicly about the case as prosecutors questioned him about the blood found in the home and the days before and after Kira Steger disappeared.
The trial will resume on Thursday when Jeffery Trevino's defense attorney cross examines Roff.
Other witnesses were also called on Thursday -- a Bloomington police officer who knew Kira Steger well from working the Mall of America beat, her coworkers, and the server who served the couple at Crave. The server described the pair as awkward, and admitted she assumed the meal was their first date.
IT BEGAN AS MISSING PERSON CASE
Co-workers first noticed Kira Steger was missing when she failed to show up for work at Delia's, a women's retail store at Mall of America on Feb. 22 and 23. Her car was located in the parking lot.
Trevino reported his wife missing to St. Paul police and Kira Steger's family on Feb. 24. Those close to Kira Steger have said she was considering divorce when she disappeared and planned to move out.
Friends, family and strangers searched deep into the chilling winter for Steger upon her disappearance, whose decomposed body surfaced in the Mississippi River on May 8.