Court: Ex-cop can try to rescind plea in suitcase death

Ariel Camilo/

MADISON, Wis. — A former suburban Milwaukee police officer who pleaded guilty in the killings of a woman in Minnesota and another in Wisconsin can keep trying to rescind his guilty plea in Wisconsin.

Steven Zelich, of West Allis, pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and hiding a corpse in 2016 in connection with Jenny Gamez’s death in Wisconsin.

He pleaded guilty a year later to second-degree murder in connection with the death of Laura Simonson in Minnesota. Prosecutors say he abandoned the women’s bodies in suitcases in a Kenosha County ditch.

The 2nd District Court of Appeals on Wednesday ordered a Wisconsin judge to reopen a post-conviction hearing and let Zelich withdraw that plea if he can show his trial lawyer was ineffective.