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Steven Zelich charged with murder of Oregon woman in Kenosha County

KENOSHA, WI (WTAQ) - Prosecutors now say Steven Zelich killed two women during "breath play" -- or erotic asphyxiation -- before putting their bodies in suitcases and dumping them.

Zelich, a former West Allis police officer, was charged Tuesday in Kenosha County with first-degree intentional homicide in the 2012 death of 19-year-old Jenny Gamez of Cottage Grove Oregon.

Zelich told officers that Gamez and the other victim -- Laura Simonson of Minnesota -- met him voluntarily at separate hotels, and they consented to their encounters.

In the Gamez case, officials said Zelich blindfolded, handcuffed, and gagged her to restrict her breathing until things got out of control -- and she choked to death. Kenosha County District Attorney Robert Zapf said Zelich might call it accidental, but the DA calls it murder.

The 52-year-old Zelich was put under a $2 million bond, on top of the $1 million bond he has in Walworth County. He's charged there with two counts of hiding a corpse, after the suitcases with both women's bodies were found June 5th along a grassy rural road near Lake Geneva.

Zelich also faces a possible homicide charge in Minnesota, but it has not been filed yet. He's due back in Kenosha County Circuit Court a week from Friday for a preliminary hearing. 

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)