Murder trial set to begin in Steele County
The first of two accused murder suspects in what authorities called a drug-related homicide is set to go on trial next week in Steele County.
Jury selection is slated to get underway Monday in Owatonna for Cyrus Noel Trevino, 25, of Owatonna. He was indicted last fall on first-degree murder charges by a Steele County Grand Jury.
Next week’s trial is expected to take place in the newly renovated courthouse that has been closed for nine months when water flooded the building. The murder trial will be the first time court has happened in the courthouse since January.
“It will be better for everyone to be back in the courthouse,” said county attorney Daniel McIntosh. Court personnel have been displaced to the nearby Owatonna Fire Station and the Steele County Detention Center for court hearings throughout this year.
McIntosh expects the trial to last for at least two weeks with jury selection taking up to five days. McIntosh has turned over prosecution to David Miller, an assistant attorney with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and Christy Hormann, who is the chief deputy in McIntosh’s office.
The prosecution expects to call up to 25 witnesses during the trial, according to McIntosh. One of the witnesses may be the second suspect charged in the case, Gerald William Blevins, 37, of Bemidji. McIntosh said prosecutors are attempting to get Blevins to testify against Trevino, but that scenario “remains to be seen.”
If Blevins ends up testifying, he will be treated like any other witness and not offered anything special in exchange for his testimony, McIntosh said.
There are several pre-trial motions that Judge Joseph Buetel is considering this week. He will rule on those motions prior to the trial getting underway. A pre-trial hearing is set for Friday to deal with last minute motions.
Prosecutors believe Trevino was the man who pulled the trigger that killed Richard Jurgensen of Medford in an execution-style killing on a gravel road northeast of Owatonna in June 2016. Jurgensen was found bound with nylon cord before being shot to death.
After the killing, authorities said it was a drug-related homicide as all parties involved were known methamphetamine users.
Trevino faces life in prison without the chance of parole if convicted on the first-degree charge. He has also been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death.
Blevins originally had been charged with aiding and abetting the murder, but the grand jury enhanced the charge to the same as Trevino.
The two first-degree murder charges are for premeditation and elevated robbery.
Both Trevino and Blevins have been locked up in jail since the murder.
Throughout the past year, both suspects have argued in court that their rights have been violated by law enforcement.
Blevins is expected to go on trial in January.