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Wis. man gets life for seven slayings

Associated Press / February 25, 2011

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MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee man convicted of choking seven women to death during a 21-year killing spree was sentenced yesterday to spend the rest of his life in prison, and prosecutors said they may yet tie Walter E. Ellis to two or more unsolved slayings.

Ellis, 50, was convicted last week after he pleaded no contest to charges of first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree murder.

Although the charges carry a mandatory life sentence, Judge Dennis Cimpl had the option of allowing the possibility of parole.

However, Cimpl said the only factor in Ellis’ favor — that by pleading out he spared the victims’ families from having to endure a trial — was like weighing “a feather against thousands of pounds of bad things.’’

Cimpl sentenced Ellis yesterday to seven consecutive life sentences for the slayings. Ellis sat impassive as the sentence was handed down.

Ellis’ rampage ran from 1986 to 2007. He was arrested in 2009.

The subsequent investigations eventually forced a complete review of how the state maintains its DNA database.

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