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Cop: "Suitcase murder" suspect said he killed 2 during rough sex

Former police officer Steven Zelich is charged with murder after the bodies of two women were found stuffed in suitcases along a rural road in Wisconsin AP

ELKHORN, Wis. - A detective says a former police officer told him that he killed two women during rough sex and then put their bodies in suitcases that he hid for months before dumping them in rural Wisconsin.

Walworth County Sheriff's Detective Jeffrey Recknagel testified Thursday during a preliminary hearing for 52-year-old Steven Zelich, of West Allis, Wis. The case will go to trial.

Zelich is charged with two counts of hiding a corpse after the suitcases were found June 5 in Walworth County, about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee. The victims have since been identified as 37-year-old Laura Simonson, of Farmington, Minn., and Jenny Gamez, of Cottage Grove, Ore., reports CBS affiliate WDJT.

Authorities have said the women were killed elsewhere and they expect homicide charges to be filed in those other counties.

The station reports Zelich met Gamez online and went on a date with her in 2012. The suspect allegedly admitted to killing Gamez in Kenosha County. He also reportedly told investigators he met with Simonson in a Minnesota hotel and traveled back to Wisconsin with her body in a suitcase. She was reported missing last November.

Recknagel says Zelich told him he killed the women accidentally after separate sexual encounters that were rough and included bondage.

Zelich's public defender has said the deaths may have been accidents.

The question raised in the hearing dealt with whether or not Zelich actually tried to hide the bodies, according to the station. The judge felt there was overwhelming probable cause that was the suspect's intent.

"You heard the judge in this case. It's simply a matter of hiding a corpse with the intent to conceal a crime," Walworth County District Attorney Dan Necci told WDJT. "That's all we were concerned about today was getting bond over on those felonies."

  • Crimesider Staff

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