Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Serial Killer: Milwaukee police solve a cold case

Working on what they called "shoe leather and science" Milwaukee police have connected a local man, Walter E. Ellis, 49, to the murders of as many as nine women. Eight of the victims were African-American prostitutes who were strangled, two were also stabbed. The ninth victim was a white 16-year-old runaway whose throat was slashed, and though Ellis's DNA was identified on her body, police are unsure if he was the actual killer. All of the women were killed in a small area of Milwaukee bounded by N. King Drive, N. 27th St., W. North Ave. and W. Capitol Drive.

The police knew that the victims were likely from the same serial killer when DNA matches started to pop up back in 2007. The DNA found did not match any samples in state or federal databases. Reportedly they received as many as 193 tips in its first three months of operation. As they worked through them Ellis's name was linked to several of the cases. Friday they executed a search warrant on his apartment while he was not home, taking his toothbrush and razors. Tests at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory showed DNA matches. Saturday his vehicle was spotted in the parking lot of a local motel and police descended. He was apprehended after a brief struggle.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In two of the homicides linked to Ellis, other men had been charged in the slayings. Curtis McCoy was charged in October 1994 with killing Carron Kilpatrick, 32, his live-in girlfriend and the mother of his daughter, but he was later acquitted by a jury. Chaunte Ott was convicted of killing Jessica Payne, the 16-year-old runaway. Ott served 13 years in prison before he was released in January, after DNA analysis showed semen found on the girl's body was not his."

Read the whole story here.

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