Ex-cop sentenced to life for killing MU student after affair

COLUMBIA | A former Columbia police officer received a life sentence Friday for killing a male University of Missouri student with whom he had an affair.

Under state sentencing laws, 31-year-old Steven Rios will spend at least 25 years in prison for killing 23-year-old Jesse Valencia in 2004. That term will be followed by at least three years behind bars as part of a 23-year sentence for armed criminal action. The lesser sentence runs consecutive to the second-degree murder sentence.

Rios was convicted in an earlier trial of first-degree murder and serving a life sentence until the Missouri Court of Appeals' Western District overturned that conviction in 2007. The appeals court cited problems with two hearsay statements.

Prosecutors said Rios killed Valencia to keep the student from disclosing his affair with the married officer.