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Milwaukee police seek man accused of killing girlfriend, setting house fire

Prosecutors say Ernest Terrell Blakney shot and killed his girlfriend, 36-year-old Nikia Rogers, and then set his home on fire to hide her murder.
terrell blakney
Posted at 4:02 PM, Aug 30, 2022

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police are asking for the public's help to find a man accused of killing his girlfriend before burning his home to hide the crime.

Ernest Terrell Blakney, 47, has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide, attempted mutilation of a corpse, felony bail jumping, false imprisonment, and armed robbery.

Prosecutors say Blakney allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend, 36-year-old Nikia Rogers, near 83rd and Vienna early on Thursday, Aug. 25.

Nikia Rogers

Rogers lived in the home with the defendant at the time of the homicide.

According to a criminal complaint, crews found Roger's body while putting out the fire. She'd been shot in the head, and an autopsy later revealed she was also shot in the back. Investigators also discovered lighter fluid near her body.

RELATED COVERAGE: 36-year-old woman killed in house fire, ruled a homicide

The complaint indicates that Rogers wanted to leave her boyfriend, Blakney, and that she was moving things out of the house the night before she was killed.

terrell blakney
Milwaukee police are asking for the public's help to find Ernest Terrell Blakney. He is wanted for a homicide that happened Thursday, Aug. 25 near 83rd and Nash.

A witness told investigators that Blakney confessed to the crime, saying he did it because Rogers was moving out. Another witness told investigators that Blakney later stole his truck at gunpoint.

Female Homicides on Rise in Milwaukee

Roger's death comes amid a jump in the number of female homicides across Milwaukee County.

There have been 40 female homicides this year, up from 38 in all of 2021, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiners office.

Experts in domestic violence say an attempt to escape can be a dangerous time.

"It's very important for women to be aware of this, and if they're going to make the decision to leave, not to announce it," said Janaan Najeeb, President of the Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition.

In part, Najeeb blames the pandemic — from isolation to job loss — as well as poverty, access to guns, and mental health among issues responsible for the spike in violence.

"What we're seeing is a result of many years of neglect in the city. There hasn't been a serious effort to try and mitigate some of these problems," said Najeeb.

Dawn Fiedler, an advocate for victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse, said it became hard during the pandemic for women to get information on help and even harder to seek it.

And that problem persists, said Fiedler, who founded and runs nonprofit Join The Movement.

"We're not getting the calls and the requests to help. I think they're afraid, and we're getting there too late. It's — they're afraid to ask for help," said Fiedler.

Police continue search for Blakney

According to the criminal complaint, Blakney was previously charged with felony second-degree sexual assault in Milwaukee County.

In November of 2021, he posted $5,000 cash bail. He pleaded guilty on Aug. 15 of this year with a sentencing date scheduled for Oct. 20. The complaint says his conditions of bail were still in effect at the time of Rogers' murder.

Police are still looking for Blakney. Police say he could possibly be driving a blue Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Pickup Truck bearing a Wisconsin plate #DH21644 with a Zignego Company on two rear windows.

Anyone with information is asked to call Milwaukee Police at (414) 935-7360 or to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at (414) 224-Tips or P3 Tips App.

If convicted, Blakney faces a maximum of 122 years in prison and a $157,500 fine.

TMJ4 News does not normally use mug shots of suspects in our news coverage. We are doing so in this instance as the suspect is still wanted by law enforcement. You can read our Mug Shot Policy on our website.

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