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Friday, December 5, 2008

[MO] Ex-Officer Rios guilty & gets LIFE for murdering Jesse Valencia

...Linda Valencia later told a reporter she felt relieved by the verdict. “I just couldn’t imagine him out walking around when I don’t have my son,” she said of [Former Columbia police officer Steven] Rios... Rios had already admitted to detectives in an interview three days after Valencia’s death that he had an affair with Valencia... Defense attorney Gilis Leonard asked jurors to show compassion, if not for Rios then for his family and 4-year-old son. “Compassion?” [Special Prosecutor Morley] Swingle said in a rebuttal statement...

RIOS GETS LIFE SENTENCE FOR MURDER
The Columbia Missourian
Friday, December 5, 2008
BY Tram Whitehurst
COLUMBIA—Former Columbia police Officer Steven Rios was found guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action on Friday. The jury recommended a sentence of life in prison for the June 2004 murder of Jesse Valencia. When the verdict was read at about 6:30 p.m. Friday after more than six hours of deliberation, the victim’s mother, Linda Valencia, and several of his friends broke down in tears... Just minutes after the sentence was read, a visibly relieved Linda Valencia said she was pleased with the jury’s decision. “Right now I feel pretty good,” she said. “I’m satisfied with the sentence he got.” She added that if Rios does ever come up for parole, she’ll be there to fight against it. She told the jury during the trial’s sentencing phase earlier in the day that she had been very close to her son, a 23-year-old MU student, and talked to him every day on the phone. “Jesse was not only my son, he was my best friend, my confidant,” she said, fighting back tears. “We talked about everything. We had no secrets. I miss him so much, so much.” Friday’s decision comes just over a year after Rios was granted a retrial... Linda Valencia said she plans to return to her home in Kentucky, where Jesse Valencia is buried at the family’s farm. She said, “I’m going to lay a white rose on his grave to symbolize once again that justice has been done for Jesse.” [Full article here]


SELECT ARTICLES FROM THE TRIAL THIS PAST WEEK:

RIOS THREATENED SUICIDE TWICE AFTER VALENCIA MURDER, POLICE TESTIFY
WEDNESDAY
The Columbia Missourian
BY Tram Whitehurst
December 3, 2008
[Excerpts] In the days immediately following the June 2004 death of Jesse Valencia, former Columbia police officer Steven Rios behaved in an increasingly erratic manner, even threatening suicide twice, Columbia police officers testified Wednesday in the second day of Rios’ murder retrial. Capt. Stephen Monticelli testified that less than a week after the body of Valencia, a 23-year-old MU student, was found with a slashed throat, Rios called the Columbia Police Department from Kansas City and said, “I did something really stupid." Rios said he had bought a shotgun and was thinking about committing suicid... Just a few days later, officers responded to a call that Rios was standing on a ledge at the top of a parking garage near the Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center, from which he had escaped the same day... Rios had already admitted to detectives in an interview three days after Valencia’s death that he had an affair with Valencia that started after Rios issued him a summons at a party he broke up in April. Rios was married with one son at the time of Valencia’s death... Rios, now 31, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2005 for the murder. His retrial was granted in 2007 by a three-judge panel of the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals, which ruled that two statements made during testimony in the first trial were hearsay and inadmissible... In an ironic twist to the trial, several officers testified that it was Rios who actually identified Valencia’s body and then was one of the officers who guarded the crime scene on the day of Valencia’s death... DNA criminalist Jason Wyckoff testified that Rios’ DNA was found on hair and nail clippings taken from Valencia’s body... [Full article here]
RIOS CHECKED COMPUTER RECORDS ON DAY OF ALLEGED MURDER
The Columbia Missourian
By Tram Whitehurst
December 4, 2008 | 1:12 p.m. CST
[Excerpts] Former Columbia police officer Steven Rios used his department identification number to access computer records of police responses on the day Jesse Valencia’s body was found, a system analyst for the Columbia Police Department testified... Rios, now 31, checked dispatch records on a computer at a police substation in north Columbia, analyst Richard Jenkins testified... Special prosecutor Morley Swingle has argued that Rios went to the substation to monitor the investigation into the death of Valencia, a 23-year-old MU student with whom Rios was having an affair. Rios was off duty when the computer was accessed, a fact Swingle called suspicious... Rios is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in Valencia’s death. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2005 for the murder, but was granted a retrial in 2007 by a three-judge panel of the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals, which ruled that two statements made during testimony in the first trial were hearsay and inadmissible. Officer Brad Anderson testified Thursday that Rios would sometimes joke with him that Anderson was having sex with Valencia... Then on the day after Valencia’s death, Anderson asked Rios if he had seen the photos from the crime scene, to which Rios responded, "'I see that your gay lover’s dead,'" Anderson said [Full article here]
TESTIMONY DWELLS ON RIOS’ ACTIONS
Prosecutor to wrap up evidence today.
The Columbia Daily Tribune
By JOE MEYER jmeyer@columbiatribune.com
Published Thursday, December 4, 2008
[Excerpts] Former Columbia police Officer Steven Rios acted out of character around the time a University of Missouri student was slain in 2004 and did not disclose his affair with the victim to superior officers. Because of that, Rios was sent by police commanders to the crime scene to identify the body of Jesse Valencia, whose body was found June 5, 2004... Rios eventually admitted visiting Valencia’s apartment three times in uniform and three times out of uniform for sex, the officers said. During the interview, officers disarmed Rios of an off-duty pistol when he became emotional. [Full article here]
JURY DELIBERATIONS START IN RIOS MURDER RETRIAL
The Missourian
Friday, December 5, 2008
COLUMBIA—The fate of Steven Rios, a former Columbia police officer, is now in the hands of a Clay County jury, which at noon Friday started deliberations in Rios’ murder retrial. In his closing argument, special prosecutor Morley Swingle reiterated the state’s contention that early on the morning of June 5, 2004, Rios attacked Jesse Valencia, put him into a chokehold and then [killed him]... For his part, defense attorney Gillis Leonard asked the jury to “put aside all the smoke and mirrors, supposition and guessing,” and decide the case on the evidence presented. He said that not only does Rios have a strong alibi on the morning of the death but that there was also never any evidence found during police searches of Rios’ home, vehicle and police station locker... “My client didn’t beat this man or murder this man, he had sex with this man,” Leonard said. “There is no evidence of this crime at all. They have found evidence of sex”... [Full article here]

JURY CONVICTS RIOS IN MURDER CASE

The Columbia Daily Tribune
By JOE MEYER jmeyer@columbiatribune.com
Friday, December 5, 2008
[Excerpts] After a little more than six hours of deliberations, a Clay County jury convicted former Columbia police Officer Steven Rios in the 2004 murder of University of Missouri student Jesse Valencia. After a short recess ordered by Senior Judge Frank Conley, attorneys were to begin presenting evidence to jurors who will recommend a sentence to the judge... Linda Valencia later told a reporter she felt relieved by the verdict. “I just couldn’t imagine him out walking around when I don’t have my son,” she said of Rios. [Full article here]

JURY DELIBERATES PENALTY FOR RIOS
The Columbia Daily Tribune
By Joe Meyer jmeyer@columbiatribune.com
Friday, December 5, 2008
A Clay County jury began deliberations on sentencing Friday night after convicting Steven Rios of second-degree murder. The jury began their penalty deliberations at about 7:30 p.m. after attorneys from both sides each called a parent of the victim and defendant as a witness — Linda Valencia of Perryville, Ky. and Gil Rios of Florida. In closing arguments to the jury, Special Prosecutor Morley Swingle said the punishment should fit the crime and asked for a life sentence on the second-degree murder conviction. He also asked jurors to recommend so much additional prison time for Rios on the armed criminal action charge that he would spend the rest of his life in prison. Defense attorney Gilis Leonard asked jurors to show compassion, if not for Rios then for his family and 4-year-old son. “Compassion?” [Special Prosecutor Morley] Swingle said in a rebuttal statement... [Full article here]

11 comments:

  1. I still think about the murder victim, and we miss him. he is in a loving place.

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  2. your son will be missed I think about the murder victim and think that he is in a loving place,

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  3. I still think about his lovely mama, Linda. This is so heartbreaking.

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  4. Jesse was a beautiful person. He is very missed.

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    1. R.I.P to Jesse Valencia, this history touched me ! From France !

      PEACE AND LOVE.

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    2. Also R.I.P. from Switzerland ! Such a heartbreaking case, all the strength possible for Jesse's Family and friends !

      Delete
  5. AnonymousJuly 14, 2015

    I can't believe I had never heard of this case..... Saw it on" forensic files".....and just read everything on it........Rios should have just taken his lumps for the affair....left Jesse alone and so much heartache would have been spared

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  6. I am so touched by this case. I think Rios is a sexual sociopathic liar. His son will grow up and eventually know about what his father did. His ex-wife, parents and other family members will have to manage life after this horrific incident. Jesse did not deserve this selfish act and I do not believe that he was going to report Rios for such a ridiculous ticket. I know he told a friend that but I believe he was intelligent enough to know that would not have been a great decision. He may have said it to get Rios' attention during their fight to which Rios over reacted. I also believe that Rios took out his frustrations of his inability to be an honest man on the young Valencia. Valencia's talent, intelligence and intoxicating personality and passionate attitudes will be missed not only by his family and close friends but with all of us out here who thrive for true leadership and honesty in humans. And I have a feeling he would have contributed so much in the arena of truth, acceptance, fairness by way of becoming a true leader in his chosen field of politics and law. I pray for that little boy who will never know his dad and for both families and the people who knew him.

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  7. You play with fire you might get burned.

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  8. Jesse is my 2nd cousin this is just so sad he never deserved to be murdered.I hope you Rios in prison think about how you ruined our family & also how you ruined your family.I loved Jesse he was so smart & he even moldeled you are a sick man Rios. ROT IN HELL!

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  9. I came across this case just recently, and it makes me sad. I read more and more about it.
    RIP Jesse, there is now one more person who will remember you! Strength to your mom, peace for you!

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