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Jury convicts man charged in shooting death of Isiah Lee, whose body was found in Dineen Park

Dennis Daniels

MILWAUKEE — A jury on Wednesday, March 6 convicted a Milwaukee man on three felony charges in connection with the shooting death of Isiah Lee, 23, on Oct. 16, 2018. Lee’s body was discovered the next morning by a man walking his dog in Dineen Park near 64th and Nash, with apparent gunshot wounds.

Dennis Daniels, 23 was charged on Oct. 24, 2018, and on Wednesday, he was convicted on these counts:

  • First degree reckless homicide, as party to a crime, use of a dangerous weapon, habitual criminality repeater
  • Possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony, habitual criminality repeater — two counts

Daniels was remanded into custody pending his sentencing hearing, scheduled for May 10.

According to a criminal complaint, on Oct. 16, 2018, police were dispatched to the area near Vel R. Phillips Avenue and Melvina Street for a shooting. They learned it involved the abduction of Lee. Investigators found 11 fired casings at the scene and determined 10 were from a Winchester .40 caliber Smith & Wesson. The other was from a 9mm Luger. Investigators also found broken glass from a vehicle at the scene and vehicle fluid.

The complaint said Isiah Lee’s brother’s vehicle responded to the shooting scene, and investigators found it had two bullet holes in it. It appeared they were fired from behind the vehicle.

Isiah Lee

Investigators spoke with Lee’s brother, who said that he was at the scene where the shooting happened with Isiah Lee. He said they parked their vehicle and shortly thereafter, they noticed another vehicle parked behind them — a gold Nissan. Isiah Lee entered the Nissan and his brother watched from the other vehicle. After several minutes, Isiah’s brother said he “became worried that something was wrong,” so he called Isiah’s phone. Isiah said he was almost done before he stopped speaking, but did not hang up. Isiah’s brother said he heard someone say something about $700 or $800, and then heard someone say, “Empty your pockets.” He believed someone was robbing Isiah. The brother said he stuck his head out of his vehicle to tell the individuals to let Isiah go, and saw a man exit the Nissan armed with a firearm — pointing it at him and firing two rounds which struck the vehicle Isiah’s brother was in.

Isiah’s brother said he put his vehicle in “drive” and pulled forward, and as he was doing so, he heard two more gunshots, fired by a second suspect. Isiah’s brother said he saw the passenger in the vehicle hanging out the door with a black handgun in his hand — pointing it toward the back seat where Isiah had been sitting. The brother said both the driver and passenger of that vehicle fired more shots. The passenger then ran, and the driver took off in the gold Nissan. The complaint said Isiah’s brother looked to see where the Nissan was going, and didn’t see his brother, so he followed the Nissan — which eventually collided with a truck, and the driver fired two more shots toward Isiah’s brother. He said he had to stop to avoid hitting the truck, and lost sight of the suspect vehicle.

The complaint said Isiah’s brother indicated Isiah was selling marijuana to support himself and his child — and said a drug deal may have been involved in this incident.

According to the complaint, when Isiah’s body was found, his clothing was in disarray as though he was dragged feet first from a vehicle and left in the park. A fired bullet was found under his body. An autopsy revealed Isiah Lee suffered eight gunshot wounds to the head, chest and extremities. Surveillance video showed a gold Nissan leaving Dineen Park on the evening of Oct. 16, 2018.

That vehicle was recovered on Oct. 17, 2018 near 37th and Wells. A tow truck driver said he was doing intake on the vehicle when he found bullet holes through the rear passenger door, and blood stains on the rear seat. Investigators learned the rear passenger windows had been broken, and there were bullet holes on both passenger doors. Two bullet casings were found on the floorboard — determined to be 9mm Luger casings. Bullet fragments were also recovered from the vehicle.

Investigators spoke with the driver of the gold Nissan, who said on the day of the shooting, she was hanging out with Dennis Daniels, who she identified through a photo. She said she knew Daniels to sell marijuana. She said they were driving around in her Nissan, and they arrived at a home. Daniels indicated he “had to go do some business” and said he was going to leave her at a home while he did so. She said she sat on a couch and waited, and Daniels and another man left in her vehicle. She said an hour and a half later, the man who left with Daniels returned and took her into the kitchen, where he “whispered to her that (Daniels) was in a shootout and had to run — and the windows in her car had been shot out and her car had bullet holes in it.” He said they needed to go look for Daniels.

The complaint said they left to go look for him, and while they were driving, someone called and indicated where Daniels was. They drove to a home and Daniels ran out and got into the vehicle and “seemed amped up.” She said Daniels didn’t appear to realize she was in the vehicle at first, and she overheard him telling the driver that he had paid someone half for the marijuana, got half the product and the seller wanted the other half of the money — indicating they would take it inside the house and bring out the remaining marijuana — a procedure Daniels said he didn’t like. Daniels said he heard the drug dealer “cock a pistol” and Daniels said he started shooting him. He said he ran off, and a white vehicle followed him.

It was determined that they needed to go back to the shooting scene to find Daniels’ firearm, which he had thrown into the bushes. They were not able to locate it. The complaint said a Springfield XD-9 9mm handgun was found on Oct 19, 2018 near 58th and Townsend by investigators, with help from a K-9 officer. An analysis revealed the casings found at the shooting scene and in the gold Nissan were consistent with having been fired from that firearm. The complaint said Daniels’ fingerprint was found on it.

The operator of the gold Nissan said she wanted her school stuff back, so they went to where her vehicle was parked down an alley near a park. She said the other man with Daniels had a water bottle of bleach and some rags and “they were going to try and wipe down the car.” They gave her the school books and laptop and told her “she would have to return and burn the car.” She said Daniels told her “she would have to report her car stolen the next day,” and she said she “promised (Daniels) she wouldn’t tell on him.”

Daniels was arrested on Oct. 20, 2018, after officers conducted a traffic stop on N. 13th Street. The complaint said Daniels was a passenger in the vehicle, and fled on Atkinson after the traffic stop. A foot pursuit ensued, and Daniels eventually tired, stopped running and surrendered near 18th and Atkinson. Investigators retraced the flight path and recovered a 9mm pistol on the grass near 17th and Atkinson. That firearm was shown to Isiah Lee’s brother, and he identified that firearm as belonging to Isiah.

The complaint noted that Daniels was convicted of felony robbery in 2016, and was therefore prohibited from possessing a firearm.

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