Cops: Man Who Killed 6 People Took Selfie With Their Bodies

Police say suspect described it as a 'robbery gone bad'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2022 2:31 AM CDT
Man Who Killed 6 People Took Selfie With Their Bodies: Cops
Travis Birkley   (Mug shot)

Police have arrested a suspect in the slaying of 6 people at a Milwaukee duplex in January. Travis Birkley was charged Saturday with six counts of felony murder-armed robbery in the fatal shootings of Michelle D. Williams, 49, and her husband Donta "Michael" Williams, 44; Charles L. Hardy, 42; Caleb A. Jordan, 23; Javoni Liddell, 31; and Donald Smith, 43. The Williamses and Smith lived at the residence, and Jordan's mother tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he had been taken in by the Williamses after experiencing homelessness. Police say Birkley may also have lived at the duplex at some point (prescription bottles and papers with his name were found there, Fox 6 reports), and that he appeared to know all the victims.

Witnesses told police Birkley worked security for drug deals that allegedly took place at the address, CBS 58 reports. Witnesses said Donta Williams sold K2, synthetic weed that he dyed red to "market" it, and that Birkley was seen with that distinctively-colored drug, a large amount of money, and Donta Williams' "house gun" after the victims were killed. One witness told cops Birkley and his cousin admitted to the witness that the murders took place during a "robbery gone bad," WISN reports. (Birkley's cousin has not yet been identified or charged with any crime.) As the men pulled guns on Donta Williams to rob him, per the police complaint, "Michelle [came] from a ‘blind’ spot in an attempt to protect Donta, so the Defendant [said] he and his cousin ... shot Michelle first and then Donta."

Then, per the complaint, Hardy "was coming upstairs with a firearm or was about to come upstairs with a firearm," so Birkley allegedly told the witness they "had to shoot" him. "The Defendant then said that everyone else in the basement had to be shot so that there would not be any other witnesses,” the complaint says. It adds that Birkley and his cousin did not realize Smith was in the house until he "must have heard the gunshots," at which point "he came out and thus they shot him as well.” Police found Birkley by tracing a strange 911 call that was made about 12 hours before the bodies were found, alerting police to dead bodies at a fake address. Ultimately, Birkley's girlfriend told police she'd made the call at his direction. Police also say they found a selfie Birkley took with the victims' bodies on his phone. (More Milwaukee stories.)

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