Use of human remains dogs questioned in La Crosse homicide case

The use of human remains dogs in a La Crosse homicide case was questioned at a motion hearing Wednesday in La Crosse.

An attorney for 39-year-old Erik Sackett filed a motion, looking to have all evidence and testimony of two dog handlers in the case thrown out.

Sackett is charged in the death of his former girlfriend, 35 year-old Erin Somvilai.

Her body was discovered in a Vernon County Lake in June of last year, about two weeks after she was reported missing.

During the investigation, a K-9 gave formal indication of human remains inside Sackett’s home.

The defense motion says the interpretation of K-9 behavior by the handlers does not meet the scientific test in Wisconsin to be admissible in court.

“There’s a certain degree of error built into this process then?” said Sackett’s defense attorney as he questioned the owner of the company that trains the dogs, Carren Corcoran.

“Yes,” she replied.

“And if you’re hiding 4 aids and a dog is allowed one false alert, a dog can miss on 20% of its searches and still be certified?”

“However… “

“Is that correct or not Miss Corcoran?”

“They can, they could be certified,” replied Corcoran.

Judge Elliot Levine did not rule on the motion. Arguments will be held next week.

Jury selection for Erik Sackett’s trial is scheduled for October 21st, with the nine-day trial to begin October 22nd.

Get your weather forecast from people that actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.