Man Pleads Not Guilty in Bodies-in-Suitcases Case

ELKHORN, Wis. (AP) -- A former police officer suspected in the deaths of two women has pleaded not guilty to charges that he tried to hide their bodies in suitcases dumped along a rural Wisconsin road.

The plea was entered for 52-year-old Steven Zelich Thursday in Walworth County, where the bodies were found June 5.

His attorney, Travis Schwantes, has said the charges might not hold up because prosecutors must show that the former West Allis officer tried to conceal a crime. Schwantes says Zelich claims he killed the women accidentally during sexual encounters. A detective testified Zelich said it happened during bondage.

The Walworth County prosecutor has said he expects homicide charges to be filed in the counties where Jenny Gamez of Cottage Grove, Oregon, and Laura Simonson of Farmington, Minnesota, died.


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