Victim's Mother Responds to KOMU 8 Report on Steven Rios

3 years 9 months 2 days ago April 19, 2013 Apr 19, 2013 Friday, April 19 2013 Friday, April 19, 2013 2:37:00 PM CDT in News
By: Danielle McCarthy and Danny Spewak
Embed Code Copied

COLUMBIA - Two months after KOMU 8 News aired a three-part series on former Columbia police officer and convicted murderer Steven Rios, the mother of victim Jesse Valencia met with reporters Danny Spewak and Danielle McCarthy Friday to offer reaction to the story.

KOMU 8 originally chose not to contact Linda Valencia out of respect to her privacy, and some viewers criticized us for that decision. Valencia said Friday she would not have submitted to an interview at that time anyway. She said she harbors no hard feelings toward KOMU 8 for reporting on her son's murder case almost a decade after the fact, but she felt compelled to respond to Rios' repeated claims of his innocence. She agreed to the interview on Friday after driving from Kentucky to Columbia to interview with NBC and Peacock Productions, which saw the KOMU 8 series and decided to film an episode about the Rios and Valencia case for a new Investigation Discovery show called "Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall." After sitting down with the national outlet on Friday morning, she decided she wanted to offer local mid-Missouri viewers her perspective of the series.

KOMU 8 News spent nine months revisiting the case from start to finish for the series. The reports provided an overall view of the case, explained why Rios was convicted and then offered new voices from his ex-wife and ex-in-laws, all of whom proclaimed his innocence. Their interviews broke almost a decade of silence--they had previously stayed out of the public eye.

In 2005, and again at a retrial in 2008, jurors convicted Rios of murdering Valencia outside his East Campus apartment in Columbia on June 5, 2004. They convicted him on the theory that Rios feared losing his job and family if anyone were to find out about his sexual affair with Valencia.

Rios admitted to the affair in court, but he did not admit to the murder. He was sentenced to life in prison for the second-degree murder of Valencia. He is currently serving that sentence at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, SD., where KOMU 8 visited him this fall.

Linda Valencia spoke for close to a half an hour on Friday.  Here are a few key parts of that interview:

"I know what my son was like. I know what a wonderful, amazing, compassionate person he was. I don't really get angry when people do interviews and shows, but I always feel like I have to come out here and try to straighten out whatever they say bad about him. I'm not saying Jesse was perfect, but even if he wasn't, he did not deserve to die the way that he did."

"I understand that [Rios's] family goes through a lot, I have a lot of compassion for his family. For his ex-wife. For his son. For his parents. Her parents. I understand that they miss him and they want him out, but he has to pay for what he did to my son."

"As far as Rios talking about missing his family, I sometimes wonder how he can even say something like that. Because I'm doing without my son."

"I miss him every heartbeat. It's every single day. I don't know if he doesn't have any compassion or any kind of scruples or anything at all, because when I wake up every day, the first thing that comes into my mind is, ‘Jesse's gone and he's not coming back,' and then the second thing I say is that I'm not ever going to get any better. I'm still in therapy. I still have to deal with this every single day. I still have nightmares."

"It was on Jesse's birthday that I saw (KOMU 8's series), on the 22nd of February, so I was very angry and upset, not at you guys, but at the fact that he was, again, right up in my face. It seems like he's been in my life forever."

"He's up for parole in 2035. I'll be about 75 years old. I got concerned that I wouldn't live that long so I actually contacted the parole board so they let me do a video of how it had affected my life and my family's life, so even if he goes up for parole, even if I'm not here, I'm still going to be fighting."

"I sometimes feel like if maybe I could just talk to him in person and just ask him to please stop... because he's destroyed my life. I just wonder how he lives with himself each day."

"He still has his life. He can still see his son. He can still see his family. I don't begrudge him that, and I really feel so sorry for his family that they have to go through what they do. But they have to look at it from my point of view and the fact that I'm letting this destroy my life."

"I never go over to the spot where I know that my son lay dying. I've never been able to go past the corner of the street there where we set up a small memorial there, down below where he was killed. I've never been able to go to the spot where he died. It's hard for me to even go to that corner."

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - At their Jan. 10 Court en Banc meeting, the judges of the 13th Judicial Circuit elected their new... More >>
39 minutes ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 5:39:00 PM CST in News
UNION, Mo. (AP) — Authorities in eastern Missouri are investigating after a body was found in a river. The... More >>
2 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 3:55:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - All across the country televisions were set to the presidential inauguration to see Donald Trump take office. Craig... More >>
2 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 3:20:00 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the case of a 53-year-old woman who died while detained in a... More >>
3 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 3:18:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Students and representatives from more than 15 local organizations gathered at the University of Missouri Friday for a... More >>
3 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 3:04:00 PM CST in News
TROY, Mo. (AP) — An eastern Missouri woman has been placed on probation for helping stage her son's fake kidnapping... More >>
3 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 2:46:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - One of Columbia's most-traveled roads, Business Loop 70, is set to go through a beautification process. Before... More >>
4 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 1:40:00 PM CST in News
BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — A concrete truck driver has been charged in a deadly crash about a mile east of... More >>
6 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 11:23:55 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The FBI is investigating after hackers blocked the St. Louis Public Library's server. The... More >>
8 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 9:34:02 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Police are investigating an attempted armed robbery at the Eagle Stop gas station on Providence Road at I-70.... More >>
9 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 9:18:00 AM CST in News
KINLOCH (AP) — A 17-year-old St. Louis County resident is charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in the July... More >>
9 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 9:00:02 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A woman who aids breast cancer survivors in the St. Louis area by creating tattoos of... More >>
10 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 8:11:00 AM CST in News
INDEPENDENCE (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas City man has been charged in the 2013 death of a 22-year-old man... More >>
11 hours ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 6:53:22 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA – On Friday, president-elect Donald Trump will officially take the oath of office in Washington D.C. for President of... More >>
20 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 9:58:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a new set of regulations on Wednesday that clarifies standards for living... More >>
23 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:49:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia/Boone County Health and Human Services Department tracked a decrease in mumps cases reports when MU students... More >>
23 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:42:00 PM CST in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A southwest Missouri woman was sentenced to two years in prison without parole for selling more than... More >>
23 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:39:07 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY ( AP) — Missouri Democrats are asking Gov. Eric Greitens to support their efforts to force the new... More >>
23 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:23:56 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 49°
7pm 52°
8pm 51°
9pm 51°
10pm 50°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

6:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 6
6:30p
Wheel of Fortune
7:00p
Grimm
6:00p
Family Guy
6:30p
Family Guy
7:00p
The Vampire Diaries

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Grimm
8:00p
Emerald City
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
The Vampire Diaries
8:00p
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld