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Victim’s neighbor takes the stand at Sackett murder trial



Erik Sackett sits before Judge Elliott Levine, early in his La Crosse County murder trial

Erin Somvilai’s neighbor has testified about Erin’s last days, at the La Crosse murder trial of Erik Sackett.

Irina Gebhardt lived in the same Rose Street duplex as Somvilai, who disappeared in June of 2018 and was found dead several days later.

Gebhardt says Erin showed extreme emotions before she disappeared, and talked a lot about her love for Sackett, who’s accused of killing her.

The two had a fight over a garden hose which led to Erin’s arrest on May 31st of 2018.

Gebhardt’s father James Borden was visiting on June 3rd, and Borden testified that he heard a loud thump in Erin’s apartment the night before she was reported missing.

Sackett’s defense attorney argues that Erin showed suicidal behavior, and might have drowned herself.

Cell phones and concrete also were discussed at the trial Thursday morning.

Police have said that concrete blocks tied to Erin’s body were similar to blocks found at Sackett’s house.

But a geologic expert from the FBI, Maureen Bottrell, argued that the blocks could not have been taken from Sackett’s property.

La Crosse Police Sergeant Thomas Hansen also took the stand, describing phone calls and messages between Sackett and Somvilai, and analyzing messages made by Sackett on the day Erin went missing.

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.

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