MILWAUKEE — Three people charged in connection with the death of Robert Piotrowski, 70, near 28th and Becher on July 3, 2017 have been sentenced to prison. Piotrowski was beaten during a robbery at his home — his body then set on fire.
The final two defendants in this case were sentenced on Feb. 8 after reaching plea deals in July.
Ladarius Boyce, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of felony murder, and one count of arson of a building, as party to a crime. He was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison and five years extended supervision on the first conviction, and three years in prison and five years extended supervision on the second conviction, with credit for 481 days time served. The sentences are to be served consecutively, for a total of 23 years in prison and 10 years extended supervision.
Quincy Qualls, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of felony murder. He was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison and five years extended supervision, with credit for 571 days time served.
Ebone Spencer, 25, of Watertown in January of 2018 pleaded guilty to two charges: felony murder and arson of a building, as party to a crime. In August, she was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison and seven years and six months extended supervision on the murder conviction, and 10 years in prison and seven years and six months extended supervision on the arson conviction — to be served consecutively — for a total of 25 years in prison, and 15 years extended supervision.
Piotrowski was found dead inside a home early on July 3, 2017. Officials identified early on that this was an arson and homicide case.
The Milwaukee County medical examiner determined Piotrowski died from “positional asphyxia, along with blunt force injuries.” The criminal complaint said 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.”
The complaint said the 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 indicated Spencer drove the group to Piotrowski’s house. The complaint said “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.
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 said. 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.”
Spencer indicated early on July 2, 2017 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.”
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.”