LA CROSSE — Erik Sackett, 38, of La Crosse was charged with first-degree intentional homicide Thursday in connection with the June 3 death of Erin Somvilai, and his bail was raised from $10,000 to $1 million.
La Crosse County Circuit Judge Gloria Doyle heeded the recommendation of Assistant District Attorney Susan Donskey to set bail at $1 million because of the nature of the killing and other factors. Somvilai’s body was found June 17 in Runge Hollow Lake in Vernon County.
Citing information indicating that Sackett killed Somvilai to stay out of prison, Donskey said, “If he’s willing to kill to avoid going back to prison,” he presents a flight risk.
Other factors she cited from the eight-page criminal complaint include that Sackett lied to police, contacted Somvilai — also of La Crosse and previously referred to with her maiden name of Bushek — when he had been ordered not to, was seen driving his truck south, where his family has a cabin near Runge Hollow Lake, and is accused of killing her and trying to dispose of her body in the lake.
Sackett, who has been in the La Crosse County Jail on an unrelated sexual assault case since June 12, did not submit a plea Thursday, as his case was postponed until Wednesday to allow time to eliminate confusion over his representation.
Sackett is a former boyfriend of Somvilai, 35, whose family reported her missing on June 4, saying she hadn’t been seen since the previous day.
A fisherman found Somvilai’s body June 17 in Rung Hollow Lake. Police said her body had been weighted down with concrete blocks to prevent it from surfacing.
Sackett met her at a party around Christmastime, according to the complaint, in which Sackett told an investigator, “we were just friends, hanging out, you know.”
He told the investigator that he and Somvilai weren’t exclusive and, when asked whether their relationship was sexual, he responded, “Sometimes, yeah.”
Sackett told investigators he had last seen Somvilai on June 3 and that she was angry because he had seen another woman.