'It went bad:' 2 men charged in fatal shooting, jail phone call helps investigators detail the case

MILWAUKEE -- Two men are charged with felony murder - armed robbery following the fatal shooting of a man in an apartment near 29th and Wisconsin Avenue early on Friday, April 17. The accused are Joshua Notch, 38, of West Allis --  and Felix Ramos, 34, of Milwaukee.

Joshua Notch, Felix Ramos

The shooting happened around 1 a.m. on April 17. When police arrived on the scene, they found a 38-year-old man who suffered a serious gunshot injury. That victim was taken to a hospital where he later died.

Fatal shooting near 29th and Wisconsin in Milwaukee

According to the criminal complaint, officers spoke with a witness who indicated "'Felix' and an unknown Hispanic male entered the apartment." The witness told police Ramos was armed with a rifle and demanded money of the victim, the complaint says. The witness indicated the victim gave Ramos an unknown amount of money. When Ramos demanded more and the victim indicated he could not do so, the witness told police Ramos shot the victim. Ramos and the second person then fled.

The complaint says a witness believed the shooting was "in retaliation for Joshua Notch being arrested for fleeing." The witness indicated the victim had been pulled over by police -- and provided Notch's name to the officer. While the officer was checking the name, the victim fled -- and got away. Later, the witness indicated police went to Notch's residence and arrested him for allegedly fleeing.

A detective investigating this case located a phone call from Notch who was in custody at the Milwaukee County Jail. The number associated with that call belonged to Felix Ramos. The complaint says "Notch was very upset and explained to the person he called (subsequently identified as defendant Felix Ramos) to 'pay a visit' to the person who got him into this predicament (the victim) and 'take money from him.'" The call was placed "approximately 8 hours prior to the homicide," the complaint says.

Fatal shooting near 29th and Wisconsin in Milwaukee

After the time of the homicide, the complaint says Notch made another call to Ramos. During that call, the complaint says Notch and Ramos had the following conversation:

Ramos: “I did what you told me… but it went bad.”
Notch: “It went bad?”
Ramos: “Yeah dog.”
Notch: “What happened. He didn’t have no money?”
Ramos: “I had to lay him down.”

On April 18, police questioned Notch about the fatal shooting. The complaint says Notch was asked in particular about his phone calls to Ramos. The complaint says "Notch stated that all his intentions were to get (the victim) to come up with his bail money and when he got out he was going to turn (the victim) into the U.S. Marshals." Notch stated "he never sent Felix there to rob (the victim), if anything beat him up," the complaint says. Notch was asked what "lay him down" meant. The complaint says Notch stated that "it could mean multiple things but then agreed that it meant he had to kill him."

Detectives traveled to Chicago on April 18 and spoke with Ramos, "who had been apprehended in Chicago in connection with this matter after having fled Milwaukee." The complaint says he "denied that he was present on the night of the homicide." Ramos stated "that he is not the killer and would not have killed anyone for anybody else," the complaint says. As to the jail calls, the complaint says Ramos "admitted that it was, in fact, him talking to Notch on the calls and but denied that they were talking about hurting or killing the victim."

According to the complaint, detectives informed Ramos that police had already talked to Notch and that Notch had explained the whole event of what had occurred. Ramos confirmed he was "the subject with whom defendant Notch spoke during the...jails calls."  However, Ramos continued to deny his involvement in the incident -- and "denied shooting and killing (the victim)."

If convicted on the charges, Notch and Ramos face up to 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.