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WIZM 2019 TOP STORIES: No. 2, Erik Sackett acquitted of murder charge

Brad Williams

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The discovery of a woman in an area lake, with weights tied to her body, led to an apparent murder mystery. 

More than a year after Erin Somvilai died, her death remains a mystery, even after the trial of her ex-boyfriend on a murder charge. 

The WIZM newsroom voted the Erik Sackett trial the #2 local news story of 2019.   

Somvilai had been reported missing for about two weeks in June of 2018 when her body was found in Runge Hollow Lake.

Prosecution evidence seeming to point to Sackett was challenged by the defense, which suggested that either another person committed murder, or that Somvilai killed herself. 

Sackett took the stand in his own defense during the second week of the October trial, insisting “I did not tell the truth about everything, that does not make me a murderer.”  

The La Crosse County jury acquitted Sackett on the afternoon of Halloween, after four hours of deliberation. 

No other suspects have been charged with Somvilai’s death.  

The Sackett case was one of several murder trials in the La Crosse area which have made big news in the past decade. 

Eric Koula, Jeffrey Lepsch, Deshawn Randall, and Todd Kendhammer were among local suspects put on trial for homicide since 2010. 

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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