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Wisconsin Man Allegedly Fatally Stabbed Girlfriend, Her Friend After Catching The Two Women Having Sex

Richard Wendell Sotka Jr. allegedly told investigators he “completely lost it” after he walked in on his girlfriend, Rhonda Cegelski, and her friend, Paula O’Connor having sex. Police haven't corroborated his motive.

By Dorian Geiger
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

A Green Bay man has been jailed for allegedly killing his girlfriend last month after he said caught her cheating on him with another woman, according to reports.

Richard Wendel Sotka Jr., 48, was charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide with use of a dangerous weapon in connection with the murders of Rhonda Cegelski, 58, and Paula O’Connor, 53, the Green Bay Police Department said in a press release. He was also charged with domestic abuse, bail jumping and damage to a property.

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Cegelski’s neighbor called police on the morning Jan. 29 to report "an injured person" and responding officers found the two slain women, according to Green Bay Fox affiliate WLUK. They had worked together as hairstylists at a salon in the suburb of Ashwaubenon, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette. Sotka had only recently moved in with Cegelski.

A witness told police that Sotka had been dating Cegelski, according to Green Bay ABC affiliate WBAY. Police then learned that Sotka had an open restraining order against him in Ocanto County, which is north of Green Bay, as well as several open cases.

A police handout of Richard Sotka

A review of court records by Oxygen.com shows that Sotka has three open cases against him in Ocanto County, and faces: two domestic abuse misdemeanors from July 2021; a bail jumping charge from December 2021; and a stalking charge, restraining order violation, disorderly conduct and bail jumping charge from January 2022.

He was out on bond at the time of the murders under the condition (among others) that he submit to electronic monitoring. Police then discovered his electronic monitoring device had been cut off and disposed of in a ditch near an exit ramp in the southern suburb of DePere, according to WBAY.

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Police then used his truck’s OnStar system to track him to Arkansas, where he was arrested later on Sunday.

Under questioning, Sotka allegedly admitted to the double murder, claiming that he’d murdered Cegelski and O’Connor because he’d been “humiliated” after discovering the two in bed together, according to the case’s criminal complaint obtained by WLUK.

Police have not corroborated Sotka's allegations about the two women.

Rhonda Cegelski and Paula O'Connor

The 48-year-old also told investigators that he'd taken two Adderall that day and was drunk at the time. Cegelski allegedly demanded that he leave the property, however, because of his bond conditions in the Ocanto case, he was not legally allowed to without violating his bond.

"He said he asked RC where he was supposed to go and at that point he said he lost it, he just lost it," the criminal complaint stated, per WLUK-TV. "He said he couldn't tell [a detective] details or tell [a detective] exactly what happened but he knows he completely lost it."

Though he allegedly admitted to the two murders, Sotka denied responsibility in the Ocanto County case.

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“I'm guilty of killing these girls but I'm not guilty of what they said I did in Oconto County," Sotka told authorities, according to the complaint.

He did, however, also allegedly admit to a history of violence against women.

“He shared with us that 21 years ago a female and him were in a relationship and he snapped in a similar way,” according to the criminal complaint reviewed by WBAY. “He said he hurt her bad and that he went to prison for that. Later in the interview he said he had broken her leg, fractured her skull, and knocked out several teeth during that incident.”

In 2002, Sotka pleaded guilty to battery and was sentenced to five years in prison and five years supervision, according to court records reviewed by Oxygen.com.

Sitka is currently awaiting extradition from Arkansas, Green Bay officials said in a press release last Wednesday. As of Wednesday, he remained in custody at a Mississippi County detention center, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. It’s unclear if Sotka has retained an attorney to comment on his behalf. 

If convicted, he faces a maximum punishment of life in prison. 

Anyone with additional information pertaining to the double homicide investigation is asked to contact the Green Bay Police Department at 920-448-320