Steven Zelich, the 52-year-old security officer and former police officer who has been officially charged with two counts of hiding a corpse, says he killed the two women, according to ABC News on Thursday. He killed them during separate meetings at hotels in Wisconsin in which he met them to have ‘rough’ sex, testified a detective in the case on Thursday. Thus far, Zelich has been charged with two counts of having hid the corpses in Walworth County where the suitcases were reportedly found a month ago on June 5 by highway employees that were cutting grass in the County.
Officials in the case assert that they absolutely expect homicide charges to also be filed in the Wisconsin counties where the women died. Yet, Travis Schwantes who is Zelich’s public defender claimed in court on Thursday that the deaths of the two women were accidents, according to Fox News. Therefore, he says that the accidental deaths may not warrant additional charges against Zelich.
In spite of Schwantes’ assertion, the judge in the case disagreed. Judge Phillip Koss argued that Zelich knew a crime had occurred by his actions. The judge said that Zelich hid the bodies in his home, then in his car, and then in the grass along the Wisconsin roadway, and therefore knew of there being a criminal act.
Furthermore, Jeffrey Recknagel, a detective with the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department, testified that in a conversation with Zelich he was told that the suspect met both women in online chat rooms. He also said that Zelich told him that they set up dates for sex at hotels and he killed the women after bondage sessions.
The detective said that Jenny Gamez - a 19-year-old from Cottage Grove, Oregon – stayed with the suspect at a hotel in Kenosha County in Wisconsin for several days before she was killed by Zelich in 2012. Laura Simonson, a 37-year-old from Farmington, Minnesota, died at a hotel in Rochester Minnesota at a hotel. Zelich reportedly kept the bodies hidden in the suitcases that were eventually thrown in the grass along the Wisconsin roadway a month ago.
Recknagel said that Zelich told him that he kept the bodies in the trunk of his vehicle but the smell was so strong that he decided to get rid of them. Zelich was a West Allis Police Department policeman from Feb. 1989 to Aug. 2001 when he resigned. West Allis is a suburb of Milwaukee.