Walter E. Ellis
|Walter E. Ellis|
|Born||June 24, 1960|
|Died||December 1, 2013
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Cause of death
|apparent natural causes|
|Other names||The Milwaukee North Side Strangler|
|Seven consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole|
Span of killings
|October 10, 1986–April 27, 2007|
|September 7, 2009|
Walter E. Ellis (June 24, 1960 – December 1, 2013), also known as the Milwaukee North Side Strangler, was an American serial killer who raped and strangled seven women in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States between 1986 and 2007.
The North Side Strangler victims were African-American women who ranged in age from 19 to 41. Milwaukee Police Department Homicide Detective Steven Spingola authored an e-magazine article, The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee's North Side Strangler, which chronicled his investigation of the homicides of Sheila Farrior and Florence McCormick.
Trained in criminal background analysis, Spingola also provided a detailed profile of the killer, which Milwaukee talk-radio host and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Wagner described as "eerily accurate." Spingola, however, retired before Detectives Gilbert Hernandez and Kathy Hein, of the Milwaukee Police Department's cold case homicide unit, reexamined DNA evidence that linked a suspect to the homicides.
On September 7, 2009 Walter E. Ellis, 49, was arrested on suspicion of being the notorious serial killer. Ellis had been arrested 12 times between 1981 and 1998, when he was sentenced to five years for reckless endangerment. Ellis was initially charged with two counts of first degree intentional homicide and held on $1 million bail. The Milwaukee County district attorney's office later filed five new murder charges against him: three of intentional homicide and two under the previous statute of first degree murder.
Initially represented by Attorney Russell Jones in defense of these claims, Ellis pleaded not guilty, and stood prepared to defend himself. Jones was withdrawn from the case, and then on February 18, 2011, Ellis pleaded no contest to the seven murder charges and was therefore convicted despite not admitting his guilt. On February 24, 2011, Ellis was given seven life sentences, to be served consecutively, without the possibility of parole. After he was convicted, he was initially held at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin, for Assessment and Evaluation in accordance with the Wisconsin Administrative Code, from where he was transferred to the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility in Boscobel, Wisconsin. In November 2011, Walter Ellis was transferred to the maximum custody unit at the South Dakota State Penitentiary.
The use of the name "North Side Strangler" in reference to the case has been limited to one local news organization, WTMJ, Channel 4, which is believed to have coined the nickname, although it has been picked up by some bloggers and by British media as well. Use of the nickname, however, has also been a subject of criticism in other Milwaukee media.
Ellis died at a Sioux Falls, South Dakota hospital on December 1, 2013 of apparent natural causes, according to a South Dakota Department of Corrections news release.
|Number||Name||Age||Date of Discovery||Charge|
|1||Deborah Harris||31||October 10, 1986||Murder|
|2||Tanya Miller||19||October 11, 1986||Murder|
|3||Irene Smith||25||November 28, 1992||Intentional homicide|
|4||Florence McCormick||28||April 24, 1995||Intentional homicide|
|5||Sheila Farrior||37||June 27, 1995||Intentional homicide|
|6||Joyce Mims||41||June 20, 1997||Intentional homicide|
|7||Quithreaun Stokes||28||April 27, 2007||Intentional homicide|
|8||Isabella Pennino||74||April 20, 2008||Intentional homicide