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Wisconsin prosecutor disputes ex-police officer's claim that suitcase deaths were accidental

KENOSHA, Wis. – A former Wisconsin police officer says he killed a 19-year-old college student accidentally during a choking game that went too far.

A criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Kenosha provides new details in the death of Jenny Gamez, a 19-year-old college student from Cottage Grove, Oregon.

The complaint charges 52-year-old Steven Zelich with first-degree intentional homicide, the equivalent of murder in Wisconsin.

Zelich told investigators Gamez’s death was an accident. But District Attorney Robert Zapf says it’s hard to believe Zelich killed two women accidentally in similar circumstances.

Gamez’s body and that of 37-year-old Laura Simonson of Farmington, Minnesota, were found in suitcases left along a rural Wisconsin highway in June.

Investigators say Zelich told them he met both women online and killed them during separate meetings for sex and bondage.