Not guilty plea in Rochester murder

Steven Zelich

ROCHESTER, Minn. – A former Wisconsin police officer is pleading not guilty to murder charges in Minnesota.

55-year-old Steven Mark Zelich of Waupun, WI, entered not guilty pleas Thursday in Olmsted County District Court to 1st degree murder and two counts of 2nd degree murder.  He is accused of killing 37-year-old Laura Simonson of Farmington at a Rochester hotel.

Simonson’s body was found stuffed inside a suitcase in Wisconsin.  The body of 19-year-old Jenny Gamez of Oregon was found in another suitcase next to it.  Zelich has been convicted of Gamez’ death in Wisconsin and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

A settlement conference in Zelich’s Minnesota murder trial is scheduled for January 18.

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