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Suspect in suitcase slayings wanted bodies to be found, attorney says

Ex-cop charged in suitcase slayings wanted bodies to be found, attorney says

The former Wisconsin cop charged in the grisly slayings of two women he met on bondage websites wanted their bodies to be found by police, his attorney argued during a probable cause hearing Thursday.

Travis Schwantes, the public defender representing 52-year-old Steven Zelich, told the Los Angeles Times the suitcases containing the bodies of Laura Simonson and Jenny Gamez were placed less than a half-mile from the Town of Geneva Police Department's headquarters in Wisconsin, where they were found last month.

"It appeared that he was actually trying to have the suitcases be discovered based on where they were placed," Schwantes said.

Schwantes made the argument during a probable cause hearing in Walworth County. Zelich remains charged with two counts of hiding a corpse after he told police he placed suitcases containing Simonson and Gamez's bodies along a roadside in June. 

Asked why Zelich, who told police he killed Gamez in 2012 in Kenosha County, Wis., and Simonson last year in Minnesota, kept the bodies in suitcases, Schwantes said only that Thursday's probable cause hearing was to address the charges in Walworth County.

Zelich admitted to "causing the death" of each woman after meeting them in hotels in Rochester, Minn., and Kenosha County, Wis., according to a criminal complaint. Schwantes said his client could face homicide charges in both deaths but contends the women were killed accidentally.

During Thursday's testimony, an investigator that testified Zelich said he killed the women accidentally during rough sex, according to the Associated Press.

Schwantes would not comment on their deaths, except to say they were accidental. Zelich is scheduled for a July 17 arraignment, Schwantes said.

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