MILWAUKEE – A Wisconsin man was arrested for the murders of six people at a Milwaukee home in January.
Travis Lamar Birkley is charged with six counts of felony murder, and was jailed on a $1 million bond, The Associated Press reported.
Six people were found murdered in a home on N. 21st Street on Jan. 23, but the bodies were already in rigor mortis when they were found, WDJT reported. Caleb Jordan, Javoni Liddell, Charles Hardy, Donald Smith, Michelle Williams and Donta Williams had all been shot and were found in different areas of the house.
Witnesses told police that Donta Williams, who was married to Michelle, was selling the drug K2 at his house, and had been on a Facebook Live video counting out more than $16,000 in profits several days before his body was found, according to court documents.
K2, also known as Spice, is a synthetic version of the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, sprayed with synthetic psychoactive chemicals, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
Milwaukee police said that Birkley had gone to the Williams’ home on Jan. 20 with the intention of robbing Donta, but was surprised by Michelle who was trying to protect her husband, according to the criminal complaint. Birkley allegedly told the confidential informant that he was with his cousin and that they had shot Michelle first, and then Donta. The pair then allegedly killed four others in the house “so that there would not be any other witnesses.”
Police said they were led to Birkley in part through a mysterious 911 call.
“This 911 caller claimed she was the victim of a shooting, and that multiple other people were shot,” Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said in a news conference at the time. The caller gave the house number where the bodies were found, but an incorrect street that was three blocks away, WISN reported.
When police traced the number that called 911, they found Birkley at a house with three other people, one of whom admitted to making the call, police said in the criminal complaint. The supposed caller — identified as “TO” — told police that Birkley had told her to call 911 and instructed her on what she was supposed to say.
The criminal complaint said that when the police searched Birkley’s phone, they found a selfie that Birkley had taken in a basement with distinguishing markings that were identified to be the basement where the bodies were found. Police also said that the selfie shows Birkley wearing glasses, which witnesses told police he does not wear. The criminal complaint specifies, “one witness was able to forward a photo of victim Donta Williams wearing what appears to be the same glasses, prior to his death. … This is consistent with the Defendant taking a photo of glasses taken from the deceased victim in the basement where all three dead victims are, all at a time consistent with all six victims already being dead.”
In a news release, police said that Birkley faces up to 330 years in prison if convicted.
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