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Ex-Wisconsin policeman pleads guilty to Minnesota killing

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Steven Zelich

ROCHESTER, Minn. — A former suburban Milwaukee police officer accused of killing two women and ditching their bodies in suitcases along a rural Wisconsin highway has pleaded guilty in the slaying of one of the women in Minnesota.

55-year-old Steven Zelich of West Allis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Friday for killing a woman at a Rochester hotel in 2013. KTTC-TV reports Zelich was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Zelich said he accidentally choked 37-year-old Laura Simonson of Farmington, Minnesota, to death with a rope during sex.

Zelich has already been sentenced to 35 years in prison in Wisconsin in the 2012 death of 19-year-old Jenny Gamez, of Cottage Grove, Oregon. Authorities say he met both women online, choked them at hotels during sexual encounters and hid their bodies in suitcases. He will serve the Minnesota sentence after completing his Wisconsin sentence.