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La Crosse man suspected of ex-girlfriend’s murder goes on trial

Brad Williams



Murder suspect Erik Sackett is shown at a court hearing with his attorney Christopher Zachar

A La Crosse man suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend and putting her weighted body in a Vernon County lake goes on trial Monday. 


The homicide trial for Erik Sackett could last up to two weeks in La Crosse County court. 

The prosecution argues that Sackett feared Erin Somvilai would falsely accuse him of a crime, which would send him back to prison. 

Somvilai’s body was tied to concrete blocks in Runge Hollow Lake. It was discovered by a fisherman back in June of 2018.

Sackett’s attorney has suggested the murder was committed by someone else — specifically, an area doctor — or it could have been suicide with someone deciding that her body needed to be hidden.

Sixty-seven potential jurors are set to report to the La Crosse courthouse for the trial before Judge Elliott Levine.

Last month, Levine ruled arguments concerning the doctor can be allowed at the trial.

He also ruled against admitting evidence from sniff-searches by police dogs.   

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.