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Milwaukee man charged in Shorewood man's murder

Suspect, victim were lovers

Apartment building at 4460 N. Oakland Ave.

Apartment building at 4460 N. Oakland Ave. Photo By C.T. Kruger

July 26, 2013

Shorewood — Homer D. Washington, a 21-year-old Milwaukee man, has confessed to and been charged with the murder of Clarence W. Charles, who was found dead in his Shorewood apartment July 16.

The murder is the first in Shorewood in 20 years.

Washington is also charged with stealing Charles' 2002 Chevrolet Blazer. The theft charge carries a maximum fine of $10,000, six-year sentence, or both.

The first degree murder charge carries a life sentence.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the District Attorney's office Friday afternoon:

A man found a cellphone in pieces in the 2000 block of North Seventh Street at about 5 a.m. July 16th. After putting the phone back together with his niece, the man called a contact named "mom," who turned out to be Clarence Charles' mother. Charles' mother told the man that she had reported her son was missing.

A Shorewood police officer entered Charles' apartment the night of the 16th while responding to a missing person report called in by Charles' mother and sister. The officer found Charles' body lying on the bedrooom floor. Responders pronounced Charles, 57, dead on the scene.

A subsequent examination by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Officer found that Charles had been stabbed 13 times.

A witness placed Washington at Charles' apartment at about noon on July 15. The witness said he had gone to the apartment to give Charles popcorn, a repayment for Charles giving him a ride the other day. The witness observed Charles and Washington in an argument, and said he saw Charles making a pizza for Washington.

According to Washington's testimony:

The two of them were arguing because Charles had accused him of "fooling around" with the witness, expressing his jealously for "several minutes."

According to Washington, Charles became angry after the they attempted intimacy.

Charles then went into kitchen to get the pizza. According to Washington, he had a knife in his hand when he returned to the bedroom.

While Washington was getting dressed, Charles punched him in the back of the head, setting off a struggle between the two of them for the knife. In the struggle Charles stabbed himself in the neck and was later stabbed by Washington.

According to Washington's testimony, he heard a neighbor outside the apartment and got scared. He left through a window.

He drove off in Charles' Blazer before selling it for $250.

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