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Suspect charged for killing Waukesha man, setting house on fire and stealing his car

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Posted at 3:33 PM, Nov 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 16:58:10-05

WAUKESHA — Amami Swanel Tobias Smith, 20, of Milwaukee, was charged Wednesday with first-degree intentional homicide by use of a deadly weapon, along with mutilating a corpse, arson, and operating a vehicle without the owner's consent.

He's accused of killing 59-year-old Dennis Huesle in early morning hours of September 26 then lighting the S. University Ave. home on fire. Smith then stole Huesle's 1969 Pontiac Firebird, according to the criminal complaint.

Firefighters found Huelse in a bedroom where the fire is believed to have started. An autopsy showed he likely died from a stab wound to the neck before the fire.

Shortly after 5 a.m. on the morning of the murder, DOT cameras and surveillance from businesses showed the Firebird traveling from Waukesha to a location near the residence of Smith's in Milwaukee.

The Firebird was later found in the alleyway on the 4900 block of N. 38th Street in Milwaukee. The investigation shows Smith was planning on selling the stolen vehicle, according to the complaint.

Hours after the fire was reported, neighbors of Huesle took a photo of a suspicious vehicle spotted approximately two blocks from his home. No one in the neighborhood could account for the blue Toyota Avalon.

Police believe Smith drove the Firebird back to Milwaukee and caught a ride to Brookfield with his girlfriend at 9 a.m. Investigators say Smith took an Uber from the Corners of Brookfield to the blue Toyota Avalon in Waukesha and returned to Milwaukee. The woman who reported the suspicious vehicle returned home around 9:30 a.m. and noted the car was the gone.

Pings from Smith's cellphone placed him in the area of Huesle's home at the time of the death.

The investigation into Huesle's phone records linked two "female associates" to Smith and Huesle. Smith would often pay for Ubers for the women to and from Huesle's home. It's unclear, however, how the two women knew Huesle.

In a text message from one of the women, she asks Smith on the morning of the murder, "He gone fr [for real]", where Smith replied, "yea." The two talked about the "old school" car and how Smith was going to be meeting up with someone later that day who was potentially interested in buying it, according to the complaint.

Photos of the Firebird were found on Smith's phone and had been taken at 5110 N. 39th Street, Smith's residence. A search warrant of his home found a sweatshirt that was believed to be worn by Smith as he drove the Firebird, a blanket from the stolen car that had been placed in the garbage and a gas can with Huesle's blood on it.

Smith due back in court Dec. 2. If convicted, he could face life in prison and be fined over $135,000.