A Milwaukee man will receive $25-thousand from the State Claims Board to compensate him for the six years he spent in prison for a murder he did not commit. William Damon Avery served six years for a 1998 murder that DNA evidence later linked to serial rapist Walter Ellis. Ellis pled no contest and was convicted of seven murders in February of 2011, but his DNA was found on two other victims. One of those victims Avery was convicted of murdering, and Chaunte Ott served time in the other murder. Both men have been released on the basis of that DNA evidence. At the claims board hearing earlier this month Avery's attorney Heather Donnel pointed out this discrepancy.
"Two of the victims for which Mr. Ellis has not been charged are the individuals who are related to victims who somebody else was convicted for that crime," she said. "The state chose not to
charge Mr. Ellis with those two homicides, however those are the two homicides in which there was a wrongful conviction."
Claims board member, Milwaukee Democratic Senator Lena Taylor, says she's concerned that discrepancy is part of a systemic problem in Milwaukee police investigations. She says she will take that issue up with Milwaukee District attorney John Chisholm.
"No different than when I saw a woman being beaten who was restrained in a police car," she said. "I couldn't understand why the DA's office had not charged that. I'm going to call him directly and ask him that."