NEW INFORMATION: Bodies-in-suitcases suspect pleads not guilty, had many bondage dates

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

ELKHORN, Wis. (AP) -- The lawyer for a former police officer accused of hiding the bodies of two women who died during rough sex in suitcases left along a rural road says his client had encounters involving bondage with many other women as well.

Walworth County Public Defender Travis Schwantes says 52-year-old Steven Zelich had many relationships online and in person with many women. He says some involved bondage and some did not.

Schwantes entered a plea of not guilty for Zelich on Thursday to two charges of hiding a corpse.

Schwantes says Zelich maintains the deaths of 19-year-old Jenny Gamez and 37-year-old Laura Simonson were accidental.
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.
ELKHORN, Wis. (AP) -- A former police officer charged with dumping two bodies hidden in suitcases along a rural Wisconsin road is due in court to enter a plea.

Fifty-two-year-old Steven Zelich is scheduled for a plea hearing in Walworth County Circuit Court Thursday on two counts of hiding a corpse.

Zelich's public defender, Travis Schwantes, says the charges of hiding a corpse might not stand up because prosecutors would have to show the former West Allis officer tried to cover up a crime. Schwantes says Zelich claims he killed the two women in the suitcases accidentally during sexual encounters.

Authorities say homicide charges are expected to be filed in the counties where the women died. The bodies of 19-year-old Jenny Gamez, of Cottage Grove, Oregon, and 37-year-old Laura Simonson, of Farmington, Minnesota, were found in the suitcases by highway workers June 5.

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