Investigation Discovery to feature 2004 murder of MU student Jesse Valencia

Former Columbia police officer Steven Rios was convicted in the murder of 23-year-old MU student Jesse Valencia twice after the first conviction was overturned.
Sunday, September 8, 2013 | 6:04 p.m. CDT; updated 6:28 a.m. CDT, Monday, September 9, 2013

COLUMBIA — The Investigation Discovery show "Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall" will feature the 2004 murder of Jesse Valencia, a 23-year-old MU student.

On June 5, 2004, the pre-law student was found dead in a neighbor's yard at the corner of Wilson Avenue and William Street, according to previous Missourian reporting. His throat had been slashed.


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Steven Rios, a former Columbia police officer, was convicted of murder in 2005. Rios was married at the time of the murder and admitted to having an affair with Valencia in open court.

Joan Sheridan, Valencia's friend, testified he had threatened to tell the Columbia police department about the relationship if Rios didn't "take care of" a parking ticket. Sheridan said Valencia was going to ask if Rios was married, because he didn't want to have a relationship with a married man.

During the 2005 trial, Rios was convicted of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole in 2005 for the murder.

The conviction was overturned in 2007 because of the two hearsay comments from Sheridan and a new trial began in 2008. Rios was convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree armed criminal, and received a lighter sentence. Rios appealed but was denied a trial in 2012.

The show will air at 8 p.m. Sunday on Investigation Discovery, Mediacom channel 271 and Century Link Prism HD channel 1260.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Stephens.

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Skip Yates September 9, 2013 | 5:21 p.m.

Dang, I have to choose between this and "Breaking Bad"....

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