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Sackett murder trial can include arguments suggesting local doctor as alternate suspect



Murder suspect Erik Sackett, seated next to defense attorney Christopher Zachar at a recent court appearance

Evidence aimed at tying a La Crosse doctor to a patient’s apparent murder can be introduced at the upcoming trial for Erik Sackett.

During a court hearing Wednesday, Judge Elliott Levine ruled that he will allow defense arguments suggesting that Erin Somvilai’s doctor might have had motive or opportunity to kill her, or to move her body after she died in 2018.

Sackett was Somvilai’s ex-boyfriend, and he is the only person charged with murder in the woman’s death.

The doctor has not been charged with a crime, but reportedly did admit to a relationship with Somvilai.

District attorney Tim Gruenke argued that the doctor’s activities around the time Somvilai died are “irrelevant.”

Levine also ruled that evidence from sniff-searches by police dogs will not be admitted at the Sackett trial, scheduled for October.

The judge agreed with defense attorney Christopher Zachar that police dogs are not a completely reliable tool in determining whether human blood is from a live or dead person.

The next pre-trial hearing in the Sackett case is set for Sept. 13.

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