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3 charged in 70-year-old man’s death, arson now bound over for trial

MILWAUKEE -- Three people charged in connection with the death of 70-year-old Robert Piotrowski on Milwaukee's south side are now bound over for trial.

Ladarius Boyce, Quincy Qualls and Ebone Spencer appeared in court on Tuesday morning, August 1st -- and waived their right to a preliminary hearing. They will be back in court on August 14th to enter pleas to the charges they face. Those include:

  • Felony murder (all three suspects)
  • Arson of building, party to a crime (Boyce and Spencer)
  • Mutilating a corpse (Boyce and Spencer)

Piotrowski was found dead inside a home near 28th and Becher early on Monday, July 3rd. Officials identified early on that this was an arson and homicide case.

Arson near 28th and Becher

The Milwaukee County medical examiner determined Piotrowski died from "positional asphyxia, along with blunt force injuries." The complaint indicates the medical examiner "did not observe any soot in the victim's airways, and therefore concluded that the victim was deceased prior to the fire being set inside the residence."

Ebone Spencer

The complaint indicates the three suspects came up with a plan to "go to 'Bob's' house...and take money from him." Spencer "claimed that the victim had money and a car, and that getting these things would be easy."  She said, "This is sweet. We got this."

A statement to police from Qualls indicates Spencer drove the group to Piotrowski's house. The complaint says "the plan was for Boyce to punch the victim into unconsciousness and then to search the residence for money and the title to the victim's car." The three were inside Piotrowski's house for approximately an hour, Qualls told police.

Quincy Qualls

Finding nothing, Qualls told police he exited the house and returned to the car they came in. "Boyce and Spencer remained inside for another 25 minutes," the complaint says. Qualls the indicated "he heard a smoke alarm go off. Spencer then exited and Boyce came out last." Qualls told police "Spencer said that she 'sprinkled some stuff on the floor' and started the fire."

When Boyce talked to police and indicated he "used chains to tie the victim's hands behind his back, and also to tie the victim's ankles together." He also admitted punching the victim.

When investigators spoke with Spencer, she indicated "she had a relationship with 'Bob,' who would occasionally give her money."

Ladarius Boyce

Spencer indicated early on Sunday, July 2nd is when the three suspects robbed Piotroski. She said "she heard thuds coming from Bob's bedroom, and either Qualls or Boyce asking 'Bob' for his PIN number." After the robbery, Spencer said "she drove 'Bob's' car to Water, and stopped at Walmart to use 'Bob's' debit card to buy a TV." When Spencer and Boyce returned home, she told police she "could not sleep out of worry that 'Bob' was not alright." The group then returned to Piotrowski's home the next night and found him "dead in the same position they left him in."

Arson near 28th and Becher

According to the criminal complaint, Spencer "stated she felt bad and did not want 'Bob' to rot in his residence." She stated that "she thought if they started a fire, the police would find 'Bob." Spencer said "she searched for a flammable item and found a can under the sink." The complaint indicates she then squirted the contents "onto the comforter and all over the room. Spencer stated that Boyce struck a match and lit the fluid."