Surprise end in murder trial
In a surprise move, the two men accused of murder admitted their involvement in Steele County District Court last week, bringing an end to one of the murder trials that had been in the midst of jury selection.
On Thursday, Cyrus Noel Trevino, 22, entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder. The next morning, his accomplice, Gerald Blevins, 38, also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree murder. The two will be sentenced in separate hearings on Nov. 13.
As part of the plea bargain reached with prosecutors, Trevino is facing 27-32 years in prison while Blevins is looking at 12 ½ years in prison. However, Judge Joseph Bueltel will have the final say at November’s sentencing hearings.
Trevino had the most to lose, as he could have faced life in prison without parole if he would have continued with his trial and been convicted of first-degree murder.
“You never know how people are going to react when they have a lot to lose,” said Daniel McIntosh, Steele County Attorney. “One of the benefits of a long jury selection is for people to see the true picture. The prosecution was ready to mount a big case with many witnesses,” he said.
Jury selection began on Monday, Sept. 18 and continued throughout the week for Trevino’s trial. On Thursday, jury selection came to a stop when both sides announced they had reached a deal.
McIntosh said prosecutors struck a deal with Blevins last Tuesday before anything was decided with Trevino.
Once it became apparent that Blevins was cooperating with prosecutors and ready to testify against Trevino, Trevino quickly decided to the plea agreement.
The plea deal, McIntosh said, ended up being the same offer that prosecutors had proposed all along.
McIntosh said even if Blevins had decided to not testify against Trevino, the prosecution still had a “good case” to go forward. But, McIntosh admitted, it would have definitely been a better case with the full testimony from Blevins.
During their plea hearings last week, the two admitted in court how they killed Richard Jurgensen of Medford in June 2016 on a gravel road northeast of Owatonna.
On Friday, Judge Bueltel, Blevins’ public defender Lauri Traub and special prosecutor David Miller of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office led Blevins through his account of what had happened on the night of June 25 when Jurgensen was shot and killed.