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Zelich Pleads Not Guilty to Rochester Murder Charges

December 22, 2016 07:03 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Thursday, in an Olmsted County courtroom, the man who authorities say killed two women and left their bodies in suitcases along a Wisconsin roadside entered his plea.

Steven Zelich’s attorney spoke for him saying he's pleading not guilty to first and second degree murder charges.

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Authorities say Zelich killed two women and left their bodies on the side of a road.  He's already pleaded guilty to killing one of those women, Jenny Gamez, in Wisconsin, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Zelich is now facing first and second degree murder charges in Olmsted County, where police say he killed Laura Simonson in 2013 at a Rochester hotel.

Court records say both women died in a similar way while having what Zelich says was "consensual sex."

Thursday, Zelich pleaded not guilty to charges in Olmsted County.  The next step is a settlement hearing set for January 18th.

In the meantime, Olmsted County and Zelich's attorneys could reach a plea agreement, but if not it will then go to trial. Which the county attorney says will take a while.

Simonson's sister, Niki Carlson, sat down with ABC 6 News for an exclusive interview prior to Thursday's scheduled court date to discuss what her family has gone through, and Carlson said she hopes the case goes trial, "I'm not happy that he was offered a plea bargain when they have such a solid case on this monster,” Carlson said. "This is their job; these are there guidelines that fit in this box... We're the family, I lost my sister and nothing will bring her back to me."


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