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Ex-police officer pleads not guilty to hiding bodies in suitcases


A former police officer pleaded not guilty to charges that he hid the bodies of two women in suitcases, which were found along a rural Wisconsin road in June.

The attorney for Steven Zelich, 52, has argued the charges against Zelich may not hold up in court because prosecutors must show he tried to conceal a crime, WKOW reports. The station says a not guilty plea was expected.

Zelich said he met both the women online and arranged to meet them. In early July, an official testified saying Zelich admitted he killed the women accidentally during separate sexual encounters, which included bondage.

Prosecutors say he then hid the women's bodies in suitcases for months before dumping them in Geneva, Wisconsin, about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee.

Zelich hasn't been charged in their deaths, but authorities say homicide charges are expected to be filed in the counties where the two women – Laura Simonson, of Farmington, Minnesota, and Jenny Gamez, of Cottage Grove, Oregon – died.

Simonson is believed to have died in Rochester, Minnesota, and Gamez in Kenosha, Wisconsin, reports say. There is no timetable for any additional charges, the Journal Sentinel reports.

Zelich remains in Walworth County Jail on $1 million bond. He's expected to have a status hearing on Sept. 23, reports say.

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