Erik Sackett trial underway in La Crosse

Local News

UPDATE:

The trial for a La Crosse man accused of killing a woman and hiding her body continued Tuesday with opening statements.

“Erik Sackett is the only person who had means, motive and opportunity to intentionally cause the death of Erin Somvilai,” said District Attorney Tim Gruenke. “I’m asking you to find him guilty of first-degree intentional homicide.”

The jury heard the opening statements Tuesday morning in the homicide case against Erik Sackett. He’s accused of killing Erin Somvilai whose body was found in a Vernon County lake in June of 2018.

According to the criminal complaint, she had been tied down by concrete blocks. The autopsy report shows Somvilai died due to homicidal violence.

The Defense says this is a “who done it” case and they’re presenting two suspects, neither of them Sackett.

The Defense says Somvilai’s doctor, David Onsrud, could be a suspect based on a relationship the Defense says the two had. But, the Prosecution says while Onsrud admitted to a fetish, he said their relationship was not sexual.

“He got gratification from being tied up with ropes, so he told her to tie him up,” Gruenke said. “The tighter she would tie him, the more money that he would give her.”

The Defense says Onsrud may also be a suspect due to statements he made to police after her disappearance.

“‘Are you worried she walked down to the river and drowned?’ and he repeated that mantra repeatedly as he was interviewed throughout this case,” Zachar said. “‘My greatest fear is that she walked down to the river and drowned’ and low and behold Erin was found in a body of water, with no visible or detectable injuries at autopsy, wrapped in rope as Dr. Onsrurd practiced, exactly how he had predicted.”

The other theory the Defense presented was that Somvilai committed suicide.

According to the criminal complaint, Somvilai sent Sackett numerous text messages threatening suicide. She was upset over Sackett’s new girlfriend.

If Sackett is found guilty, he faces life in prison.


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Erik Sackett is accused of killing Erin Somvilai in June 2018 and dumping her body in a Vernon County Lake, that’s according to the criminal complaint.

Monday, the jury was selected.

After starting with 67 potential jurors, the court narrowed it down to 40 before settling on the final 12 with two alternates.

There are 10 men and four women on the jury.

Court will reconvene Tuesday morning with opening statements slated.

The trial is expected to take two weeks.

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