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Prosecution rests case at Sackett murder trial, defense begins case Monday

Brad Williams

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La Crosse Police Chief Shawn Kudron testifies at the Erik Sackett trial on Friday, on his role in the Sackett murder investigation

The prosecution has rested its case at the Erik Sackett murder trial in La Crosse, but the defense doesn’t see much of a case.

Sackett is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Erin Somvilai, in June of last year.

Defense attorney Christopher Zachar asked Judge Elliott Levine on Friday for a ‘directed verdict’ of acquittal.

“There’s no proof that Mr. Sackett killed her. There’s no proof that anybody killed her. I saw zero connection in the course of the evidence presented in this case that implicates Mr. Sackett in the death of Erin,” said Zachar.

The defense has suggested that Somvilai committed suicide, by going into a lake with weights tied to her body.

Zachar says the Sackett case ‘reeks of reasonable doubt.’

District attorney Tim Gruenke says there’s plenty of evidence that Somvilai was murdered.

Gruenke argues that Somvilai was missing for two weeks, and then was found ‘in a lake that (Sackett) has a cabin on, and she is found with concrete blocks attached to her that are similar in appearance to blocks found in the defendant’s driveway. I think there’s more than enough, at this point, to find the defendant guilty.”

Levine rejected the motion for an acquittal, saying the state has met its burden of proof.

Zachar expects his case to take about three days, beginning Monday.

The only prosecution witness called on Friday was new La Crosse police chief Shawn Kudron, who was the chief investigator for the police in the Sackett case.

The defense argues that the investigation of Somvilai’s death was not thorough enough, and that police might have had ‘tunnel vision’ in focusing on Sackett as a murder suspect.

Kudron commented that ‘it’s possible’ police could approach a case with tunnel vision.’

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    Trish Downs

    October 26, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Flimsy case for the state there just isn’t any CLEAR and incontrovertible evidence. Even the ME saying ‘homicidal violence’ is not enough to convict this guy because he can NOT attach it to Sackett

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