Man who was key witness in case involving shooting death of Bill Thao charged in Brown Deer shooting

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BROWN DEER -- Brown Deer police said Thursday, December 29th 21-year-old Kwesen Sanders has been arrested and charged in connection with a shooting that happened in October near 51st and Dean in Brown Deer.

An initial investigation into the shooting, which happened on October 7th, revealed shots were fired from one vehicle to another.

Police said there was no victim in this shooting, and that no one was struck by bullets.

Sanders faces two counts of possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony (habitual criminality repeater) and two counts of misdemeanor bail jumping (habitual criminality repeater) in connection with the Brown Deer shooting.

Kwesen Sanders

Kwesen Sanders

Prosecutors said Kwesen Sanders was the intended target of a shooting that killed 13-month-old Bill Thao on December 27th, 2014.

Documents show Darmequaye Cohill, the gunman who was trying to shoot Sanders, a heroin dealer, for stealing his drug customers shot up the wrong house. Instead of shooting into Sanders' residence, the gunman shot into the identical duplex next door.

Baby Bill Thao, who was playing with toys in the living room of that home was struck. He died at Children's Hospital.

Cohill was sentenced to serve 50 years in prison in the Thao case.

Darmequaye Cohill

Darmequaye Cohill

Bill Thao

Bill Thao

Two counts of conspiracy to commit the manufacture/delivery of heroin (less than three grams) were dismissed against Sanders in connection with the Thao case.

This, despite the fact that he made a deal with prosecutors and then went back on it in front of a jury.

Sanders originally told police the whole story -- that it was Cohill who fired the shots into the house -- striking Bill Thao.

Kwesen Sanders

Kwesen Sanders

During Cohill's jury trial, he changed his tune.

Questioning of Sanders in court: "Did you tell the detectives you were certain it was him?"

"No," Sanders said.

Questioning of Sanders in court: "Because you have known him since you attended school on North 27th and West Vliet?"

"I told him I know him. That's it," Sanders said.

"No" was the response to just about every question the prosecutor asked.

He even denied his signature is on photos identifying Cohill as the shooter. The defense attorney too was frustrated.

Questioning of Sanders in court: "Do you have medical problems?"

"No," Sanders said.

Questioning of Sanders in court: "Is there something we should know about that affects your ability to remember things that you obviously said or did?"

"No sir," Sanders said.

The prosecutor said Sanders cut a deal -- he would testify against Cohill, and in return, he wouldn't be charged in a prior, unrelated shooting that happened in August.

The prosecutor says Sanders didn't keep his end of the deal.

Questioning of Sanders in court: "Mr. Sanders, do you think this exercise is a game?"

"Why would you think that?" Sanders said.

Questioning of Sanders in court: "Because your answers are silly and ridiculous and you are offending the sensibilities of these 12 people."

"Since you say that, I plead my Fifth Amendment rights and that's the right to remain silent," Sanders said.

When jurors left the courtroom so court officials could discuss this further, Sanders said he didn't want to continue his testimony.

"He's not the shooter. What don't you all get?" Sanders said.

Despite that though, the jury did return a guilty verdict for Cohill.

Bill Thao

Bill Thao

Search warrants uncovered by FOX6 News show Sanders was the focus of Milwaukee police long before December 27th, 2014 -- the night Bill Thao was shot and killed.

A search warrant identified Sanders with the street name "K-Money" -- a member of the "Wild 100s" street gang.

That street gang is linked to two high-profile crimes: a shooting that occurred during a robbery of the Innovative Optique store in Fox Point (a robbery suspect was shot and killed by a store employee) and a case involving a teen killed during a street robbery on the city's south side.