MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTAQ) - Alleged Milwaukee serial killer Walter Ellis changed his mind again Thursday morning, and decided not to settle his case.
The 50-year-old Ellis surprised court officials Wednesday, when he said he wanted to plead no contest at a hearing Thursday on his 7 murder and homicide charges that date back to 1987.
But instead of taking pleas, Circuit Judge Dennis Cimpl asked both sides to present requests related to Ellis’s trial, which is still scheduled to begin next April. That caught defense lawyer Patrick Earle unprepared – and the judge gave him time to go get his file on the matter.
District Attorney John Chisholm would not say whether Ellis staged Thursday’s courtroom drama, and had never intended to settle his case. Chisholm said he has always been prepared to take the case to a trial – and he still is.
Ellis is charged with strangling 7 female prostitutes to death in the same neighborhood on Milwaukee’s north side from 1987 through 2008. He was never charged in the similar slayings of an 8th prostitute and a teenage girl who ran away from home.
Ellis was supposed to go on trial earlier this year. But it was delayed after he changed defense lawyers. He’s done that 3 times since being arrested in September of 2009.