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DNA leads to arrest in series of murders

Dinesh Ramde Associated Press

MILWAUKEE – A Milwaukee man whose DNA authorities say linked him to the slayings of nine women since 1986 has been charged with two counts of homicide, with more charges expected later this week, police and prosecutors said Monday.

Walter E. Ellis, 49, was taken into custody after a struggle at a motel on Saturday, days after police served a search warrant to obtain a DNA sample, police Chief Edward Flynn said. Ellis was charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. More charges will be filed within the next few days, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said.

Each homicide charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Police said Ellis’ DNA was found on the bodies of nine women, ranging in age from 16 to 41, who were killed between 1986 and 2007 on the city’s north side. Investigators believe eight of the women were prostitutes and one was a runaway.

Police have speculated that the person whose DNA sample they recovered on the runaway had sex with that girl but that someone else killed her. However, Chisholm would not say whether anyone else would be charged in the killings.

Flynn declined to say what the motive may have been.

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