Milwaukee Police say they nabbed a serial killer during the holiday weekend. 49-year-old Walter Ellis has been charged with two killing women – and he’s a suspect in six other slayings. Charges are expected in some of those cases this week. Ellis was picked up Saturday at a motel in Franklin.
That was after Milwaukee cold-case investigators found DNA on his toothbrush which matched samples found on 25-year-old Irene Smith and 32-year-old Carron Kilpatrick. They were killed two years apart in the early 1990’s, and their bodies were found within a block of each other. Officials said both were stabbed and strangled.
Police Chief Ed Flynn said Ellis’s DNA was on at least nine women killed from 1986-to-2007, but investigators say somebody else killed one of those people. One victim was a teenage runaway, and the others were all African-American prostitutes. Most were strangled, and three were stabbed or slashed to death.
Chaunte Ott spent 13 years in prison for the murder of the runaway, Jessica Payne. But Ott was freed in January after it was learned that the DNA on the victim’s body belonged to somebody else. Another man had been charged in 1994 with Kilpatrick’s slaying, but a jury found him innocent. Authorities said earlier that the same suspect’s DNA was found at numerous murder scenes. A police task force was then created, which got almost 200 tips in its first three months.
Ellis was charged a dozen times in the 1990’s with numerous crimes. But his last conviction in 1998 came two years before a state law that all felony convicts had to leave DNA samples with a statewide police data-base.