Milwaukee's 'North Side Strangler' dies at age 53

CREATED Dec 2, 2013 - UPDATED: Dec 2, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - Convicted serial killer Walter Ellis went to a Sioux Falls hospital with an 'advanced disease' last Tuesday, a South Dakota Department of Corrections spokesperson told TODAY'S TMJ4.

Ellis died Sunday at age 53 from what authorities described as 'natural causes'.
 
An autopsy was planned for Monday afternoon.
 
Ellis served just four years in prison for murders that spanned two decades.
 
Patricia Donald's close friend Deborah Harris was killed in 1986.  She wishes Ellis would have lived to serve more time in prison.
 
"He didn't serve his sentence," Donald told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.  "Everybody that died mattered.  Everybody had a family.  No matter what they were doing, they were still human and they still deserved love.  Nobody deserves to be murdered."
 
Walter Ellis was sentenced four years ago to multiple life sentences for killing Harris and six other Milwaukee women.  
 
Ellis was incarcerated in the maximum security Jameson Annex of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.
 
"Our hope is that the families will find closure, that they will find peace," said Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.
 
Officials moved Ellis to South Dakota because relatives of several victims were serving time in the Wisconsin prison system, Chisholm said.
 
Ellis never apologized to the victims' families.  He never said why he killed the women.
 
"That would have been helpful," Chisholm said.  "That goes with him to the grave."
 
The Ellis case exposed a problem in the way Wisconsin collected DNA samples from convicted felons.
 
When Ellis was incarcerated on a lesser crime, he persuaded another inmate to give a DNA sample in his place.  Ellis was released and continued to kill.
 
The state has since moved to collect samples from hundreds of inmates who did not have a sample in the system.