LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Week one of Erik Sackett's homicide trial in the death of Erin Somvilai ended with the prosecution's last witness and for week two it's the defense's turn.
35-year-old Somvilai's body was discovered in a Vernon County Lake in June of 2018 with concrete bricks tied around it. The jury heard testimony from pathologist Dr. Ross Reichard who said she died due to "homicidal violence".
"That means that based on the autopsy investigation, I feel like this is not natural, not an accident and not self-inflicted," Dr. Reichard said. "But I don't have a specific mechanism or explanation that I can determine how she died based on the autopsy and investigative information I have."
Attorney Joe Veenstra said the pathologist's testimony supports the prosecution's claim that Somvilai was murdered, but that it is not enough to prove that Sackett is the person who killed her.
"The expert's testimony was essentially that he thought it was a homicide because the victim didn't really have any means to get to the location where her body was discovered," Veenstra said. "And the manor of which she was discovered with the bricks tied around her."
When court resumes on Monday morning, the defense will call their first witness for testimony. It has yet to be revealed whether or not Sackett himself will take the stand.
"It wouldn't surprise me if he does not testify given the way the case has gone in thus far," Veenstra said. The jury is instructed not to hold it against the defendant if he chooses not to testify.
It's anticipated that the jury will reach a verdict by the end of week two.