Jury to decide fate of man accused of killing young mother, daughter, setting their bodies on fire

MILWAUKEE -- A young mother and her child were murdered not long before Easter in 2016, and Wednesday, April 19th was the third day of the jury trial for the man accused in this case.

33-year-old Patrick Fowler faces two counts of first degree intentional homicide in this case.

The bodies of 28-year-old Jessica Ellenberger and her daughter, four-year-old Madyson Marshel were discovered inside their home near 68th and Stevenson in Milwaukee on March 19th, 2016.

Prosecutors say Fowler admitted he and Ellenberger were arguing, and Fowler “felt as if he was being disrespected."

Patrick Fowler


At some point, Fowler grabbed Ellenberger by the hair and “asked her to just talk with him.” When she demanded Fowler back off, Fowler told police “the knife slid across her chest.” She was stabbed 26 times and her throat was slit.

"He continued to stab her and then went back into the kitchen and grabbed more knives and stabbed her some more as Madyson Marshel was screaming 'Mommy,'" Milwaukee Police Department Detective James Campbell testified.

He then proceeded to stab Madyson twice, according to the complaint.

"He said that he prayed awhile, and then used coloring books to set their bodies on fire," Campbell testified.

The complaint indicates Fowler then walked out of the front door, taking Easter candy from the home. The bodies of Jessica Ellenberger and Madyson Marshel were later found in a bedroom in the home.

Easter items found in Patrick Fowler's possession after fatal stabbings/fire

According to the criminal complaint, after the murders, Fowler bought a one-way ticket to Texas and got on a Greyhound bus. He was arrested as the bus made a stop in Arkansas. Fowler's sister testified Wednesday that she went with him to the Greyhound station. They were both caught on surveillance video when police say Fowler bought a one-way ticket to Texas, where his brother lives.

Patrick Fowler

Fowler has pleaded not guilty. A jury will decide his fate.

Shortly after charges were filed in this case, FOX6 News spoke with the grandmother of Fowler's two children. She said Fowler came to her daughter's home after the murders and forced her daughter, the mother of his children, to help him.

"He threatened her. If she didn't help him, there was going to be bodily harm to perhaps herself and her children," said the grandmother to Fowler's children.

She said her daughter helped dispose of Fowler's clothes against her will.

"There were threats made, yes," said the grandmother to Fowler's children.

The mother of Fowler's two children was in jail for her alleged role.

Patrick Fowler's mother testified in court on Wednesday about the night she met her son after the crimes.

Brenda Fowler

"He said 'don't watch the TV, Mama. That's what he said. 'Don't watch the TV,'" Brenda Fowler said.

On Thursday, the defense is set to present its case. It's unclear whether Fowler will testify.

Patrick Fowler

There is a separate open case out of Milwaukee County filed against Fowler on March 22nd -- four days before the first degree intentional homicide charges were filed for the deaths of Ellenberger and Marshel.

Fowler is charged with sex registry violation, and has pleaded not guilty.