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Steve Rios

 

WHITE COP ON THE DOWNLOW:

Steven Rios (pictured above) was a married cop with an infant son in the college town of Columbia, Mo.

While on duty, he was dispatched to investigate noise complaints at an off campus party given by Jesse Valencia, 23.

Rios arrived and arrested Valencia for mouthing off to police. After Valencia was released, he and Rios started an affair.

The relationship included sexual trysts at Valencia’s apartment when Rios was in uniform and was suppose to be patrolling the neighborhood.

Valencia told friends and classmates, he suspected his new lover was married and planned to confront him. He also wanted Rios to fix the ticket from the party and suggested that he would tell the chief of police of his “little secret” if the ticket wasn’t fixed.

Shortly afterwards, Valencia was found dead on a lawn near campus with his throat slit on June 5, 2004. The wound was so deep, the medical examiner said, there were knife marks on his spine.

DNA found under the victim’s fingernails and three hairs pulled from his body were analyzed as the DNA of officer Steve Rios.

Rios was arrested without incident.

During the trial, Rios acknowledged the affair but when testifying in his own defense, insisted to jurors that he was miles away at a party on the police station roof when the killing occurred and Rios’s lawyer painted the victim as promiscuous and loud-mouthed and said his many lovers and volatile personality made for a deep pool of better suspects.

Surprisingly, Rios’s wife stood by him, she testified in his defense, steadfastly maintaining her husband’s innocence, screaming out “I love you,” as marshals escorted her from the courtroom.

Meanwhile, the prosecution maintained, Rios had given the young man the power to ruin his police career, his political aspirations and his marriage. Rios also used his badge for sex and then used his knife to forever close the mouth of his secret lover.

The prosecutor also added, several women had come forward to police after the murder and said Rios had hit them up for sex after arresting them.

It was also revealed that Rios was fired from a job at the Boone County jail for renting a storage space under another officer’s name.

A jury of nine women and three men found Rios guilty of first-degree murder which carriers an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole. Jurors also recommended an additional sentence of 10 years for the charge of armed criminal action related to Rios use of a knife in the crime.

More than 20 of Valencia’s classmates, friends and relatives were in court for the verdict and greeted it with gasps of relief. His mother, Linda Valencia, fell forward in her seat and broke down in tears.

After the verdict, Rios looked down at the defense table and shook his head ruefully. He started crying and stared longingly toward his wife and 16-month toddler. His wife also began weeping in the spectator’s gallery.

In addition to his wife, Rios’s brother, father and in-laws were on hand for the verdict. An attorney for the Rios family said, his relatives had no comment but wanted the public to know they still firmly supported him.

Source: Court TV’s Crime Library


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