Zelich will be charged in Olmsted County in 'suitcase murder' case
The Olmsted County Attorney's Office has filed charges against the man accused of killing a woman at a Rochester motel and then dumping her body, along with the remains of a second woman, on the side of a highway in rural Wisconsin.
Steven Zelich, 54, was charged on Friday in Olmsted County with counts of murder in the first degree, intentional murder in the second degree, and unintentional murder in the second degree while committing a felony offense.
He has already been charged in Kenosha County, Wis. with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse in the 2012 death of Jenny Gamez, a 19-year-old college student from Oregon. That trial is scheduled to begin in January.
Zelich told investigators he accidentally choked Gamez, along with 37-year-old Laura Simonson, of Farmington, during consensual sex. Simonson was killed in November 2013 at the Microtel Inn in Rochester.
According to court documents, Zelich hid their bodies until they began to smell. He then put the bodies in suitcases and dumped them along a road in Walworth County, Wis. Their remains were found by highway workers in June 2014.
Zelich met the two women through an online bondage website. Investigators say he had a profile on the site that stated he was actively seeking submissive women who want to be "a slave, tied tight, gagged, blindfolded, hooded, chained, caged."
He was a police officer in West Allis, Wis. until 2001, when he was forced to resign over accusations that he stalked and harassed multiple women. Prior to his arrest, he had been working as a state-licensed security guard.
Back in April, a judge in Kenosha County ruled that the jury there cannot hear information related to the death of Simonson because, according to a local media report, it happened after Gamez was killed.
Zelich is not expected to appear in Olmsted County District Court until the resolution of the criminal proceedings in Wisconsin.
(Cover photo: Steven Zelich)