Prosecution rests its case in Erik Sackett trial, defense to call first witness to stand Monday


LA CROSSE, Wis. (FRIDAY) The Prosecution called their final witness to the stand Friday morning in the Erik Sackett homicide trial.

Sackett is accused of killing Erin Somvilai in June of 2018. Somvilai was missing for about two weeks before her body was found in a Vernon County lake.

Chief Shawn Kudron of the La Crosse Police Department, who at the time of Somvilai’s death was the Captain of the Investigative Bureau, explained the first steps officers take in a missing person investigation.

“[We ask about the missing person] as well as the people who are close to them, what their typical day looks like. What their habits might be and investigators are looking for any breaks in those habits,” Kudron said.

Kudron also said why officers did a consent search at Dr. David Onsrud’s residence, an alternative suspect, but received a search warrant for Sackett’s residence.

“We were unsure if Mr. Sackett had been completely truthful with our officers on the initial contact that was had with him,” Kudron said.

The Defense questioned what information the police department provided the doctor who performed the autopsy.

“You continued to learn about acts in which Erin was acting either erratically or trying to hurt herself throughout the course of this investigation, is that correct?,” asked Chris Zachar, defense attorney.
“That’s correct,” said Kudron.
“Would you agree that not all of those acts were shared with Dr. Reichard?,” Zachar asked.
“That’s correct,” Kudron said.

While the Defense asked Kudron about a lot of information the police department did not provide to the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Somvilai’s body, Kudron said that he believed what was provided was sufficient.

“Do you believe you provided him all relevant information?,” asked District Attorney Tim Gruenke.
“Yes I do,” Kudron answered.
“Was information provided to him about Erin’s suicidal state of mind?,” Gruenke asked.
“Yes it was,” Kudron said.

Kudron did admit that mistakes were made in this investigation and in hindsight, would have done some things differently.

One of those things– naming Somvilai’s residence a crime scene earlier.

“Being able to have the Wisconsin State Crime Lab come to the residence sooner to do a forensic analysis of the residence,” said Kudron.

The trial will continue Monday morning when the Defense calls their first witness to the stand.

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