Steven Zelich, accused in murder of Jenny Gamez, headed to trial

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KENOSHA CO. (WITI) -- 52-year-old Steven Zelich appeared in a Kenosha County court on Friday, August 15th -- and he waived his right to a preliminary hearing on charges connected to the 2012 death of Jenny Gamez of Cottage Grove, Oregon. That clears the way for his trial.

Zelich faces two charges in Kenosha County -- first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. A criminal complaint says the former suburban Milwaukee officer killed the 19-year-old college student during a sexual choking game that went too far, hid her body in a suitcase and then kept her body in his refrigerator for months.

"Do we have an idea where this case is headed?  Direction and defense and things like that?  Certainly.  But I just think it would be better for everyone if we review the evidence," said Jonathan Smith, Zelich's attorney.

Smith said it was his client's decision to waive his preliminary hearing. In doing so, the state does not need to prove probable cause that a felony was committed. Zelich will be back in court on Monday, August 18th to enter a plea to the charges against him.

Smith declined on Friday to comment on a potential guilty or not guilty plea. He also requested a different judge for the case moving forward.

Zelich has already entered a not guilty plea for two counts of hiding a corpse in Walworth County. Charges are also expected in Olmsted County, Minnesota -- where the other victim in this case, 37-year-old Laura Simonson, allegedly died under similar circumstances.

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