Travis Birkley, who took selfie with murder victims, charged with six deaths

A Wisconsin man accused of fatally shooting six people — and then taking a selfie with some of their bodies as a background — has been charged with six felonies of murder stemming from an armed robbery.

Photos on a mobile phone of Travis Birkley, 34, in January appear to show him wearing distinctive glasses that belonged to his alleged fourth victim, Donta Williams, for the morbid self-portrait.

All victims died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

“The defendant took a picture of himself in a basement where three bodies were later found,” says the police complaint, which was leaked to various news agencies. In the complaint, officials say he wore William’s glasses after he allegedly shot him in the upper unit.

The bodies of six people were found in a Milwaukee apartment building owned by victims Donta and Michelle Williams, a day after a woman – who may also have been a victim – called 911 and said she had been shot in the head too police reports. Officials investigating the report could not find the address given in the original 911 call.

In response to a social check, officers found Williams’ bodies on the first floor after reporting that they hadn’t answered the phone. After calling for backup, police found the bodies of Charles Hardy, Caleb Jordan and Jovini Liddel in the basement apartment. Police then found another victim, Donald Smith, under a pile of clothes in a second floor bedroom.

According to a police report cited in several publications, Birkley’s cousin admitted that the two men planned to rob Donta Williams after arranging a meeting to buy narcotics. Williams’ wife then apparently surprised the men, causing them to shoot first her and then him. The noise then apparently caught the attention of others in the building, who then had to ‘shoot’ the men because they either might also be armed or might be witnesses. According to the report, Smith was shot while approaching her with a pistol.

Police found 10 cell phones at the scene. Many of the other phones contained messages that appeared to be related to potential drug deals, including a message reading “You’re still awake, if so, buy a blunt and a cigarette,” which referred to traditional vessels for cannabis. Police said they used cellphone tower data to identify Birkley as a potential suspect because a phone belonging to him was allegedly intercepted on multiple cellphone towers at the same time that activity on all six of the victims’ devices was halted.

A witness questioned in the investigation also said that the day after the murders, Birkley was seen using a type of synthetic marijuana called K2, which the police complaint alleged was commonly sold by Donta Williams.

Police also found 10 shell casings from two different guns at the property, leading them to believe there may have been a second gunman. No one else has been taken into custody so far. Travis Birkley, who took selfie with murder victims, charged with six deaths


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