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

3 years 2 months 1 week 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

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 - A small plane made an emergency landing Wednesday at Columbia Regional Airport. The single engine Piper aircraft... More >>
3 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 8:52:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri is now offering students recovering from alcohol or substance abuse a sober housing option.... More >>
4 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 7:12:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole for participating in... More >>
5 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 6:45:39 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Three suicide bombers attacked the international terminal at an airport in Istanbul, Turkey late Tuesday. KOMU 8 News... More >>
5 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 6:43:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon is backing a proposed power line in Missouri that's part of a multi... More >>
7 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 5:06:32 PM CDT in News
PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in sou theast Missour i have been searching for a Kansas man who hasn't been... More >>
7 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 4:42:47 PM CDT in News
BRANSON (AP) — A 77-year-old man who said he robbed a Branson bank to get access to health care has... More >>
7 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 4:21:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A former system president and a wealthy university donor will help review the University of Missouri... More >>
8 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 3:39:24 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - More pets go missing over the 4th of July holiday weekend than any other time of year, according... More >>
9 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 2:26:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – During drought situations, private ground water wells should be tested, said Bob Broz, University of Missouri Extension water... More >>
10 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 2:03:00 PM CDT in News
MONTGOMERY COUNTY - The manhunt began late Wednesday morning after a suspect led troopers on a high speed chase. ... More >>
12 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 11:42:00 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after an officer found a man dead in a vehicle while responding... More >>
12 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 11:24:30 AM CDT in News
KINLOCH, Mo. (AP) — An 18-year-old suspect continues to recover after being shot by police in the St. Louis suburb... More >>
13 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 11:02:01 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri attorney general's office says more must be done to determine how a U.S.... More >>
14 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 9:24:33 AM CDT in News
KENNETT, Mo. (AP) - Charges have been upgraded to first-degree murder in the deaths of two southeast Missouri residents who... More >>
15 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 8:40:59 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A 44-year-old St. Louis man is recovering after an unprovoked attack by a group of boys.... More >>
16 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 7:36:00 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A suburban Kansas City man has pleaded guilty to participating in a series of Craigslist... More >>
16 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 7:29:49 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Two brothers have been sentenced to 15 years in prison for fatally shooting a 21-year-old... More >>
16 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 7:24:28 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 69°
1am 69°
2am 69°
3am 68°
4am 68°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

11:37p
Late Night with Seth Meyers
12:37a
Last Call with Carson Daly
1:07a
The Insider
12:00a
Community
12:30a
The King of Queens
1:00a
The King of Queens

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2016 U.S. Summer Olympic Trials
8:00p
Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge
9:00p
Aquarius
7:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
8:00p
Beauty and the Beast
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld