FILE – In this Aug. 5, 2014 file photo Steven Zelich appears in court in Kenosha, Wis. Jury selection for the former police officer accused of choking to death Jenny Gamez, an Oregon college student, and then stuffing her in a suitcase and leaving it on a rural highway is scheduled to begin Monday, Jan. 25, 2015, in Wisconsin. (Sean Krajacic/Kenosha News via AP, File)
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — A former Wisconsin police officer has pleaded guilty to killing an Oregon woman and ditching her body in a suitcase along a highway.
Steven Zelich pleaded guilty Monday, just as his trial was set to begin in the death of 19-year-old Jenny Gamez, of Cottage Grove, Oregon. Her body was found along a Wisconsin highway in 2014, but authorities believe she died in August 2012.
The former suburban Milwaukee police officer also is accused of killing a Minnesota woman whose body was found in a suitcase along the same highway.
In Gamez’s case, Zelich pleaded guilty to first-degree reckless homicide with use of a dangerous weapon and hiding a corpse. Sentencing is scheduled in March.
Gamez’s case was filed in Kenosha County, about 40 miles south of Milwaukee.