Milwaukee’s Troubling Track Record: Lawrence Paine’s Story Adds to Growing List of Potentially Framed Black Men

Frank Report is investigating the conviction of Lawrence Chan Paine, who is currently residing at a medium-security prison located 10 miles west of Plymouth, Wisconsin.

He is serving two life sentences for two counts of first-degree intentional homicide murder in Wisconsin. The dead men, Janari Saddler and Aaron Harrington, were shot multiple times in the upstairs flat of a Milwaukee duplex on April 10, 2004.

There was no physical evidence linking Paine to the murders. Police never recovered the gun. 

Paine’s DNA was not found at the scene.

Eric Howard said he was in the flat during the shootings. He said Janari Saddler discussed a parked car with a person the witness knew as “Chan.”

Howard said “Chan” had parked the car, which Saddler thought was stolen, in front of the duplex where Saddler lived. “Chan” became upset with Saddler for continuing to talk about the car, pointed a gun at Saddler, followed a retreating Saddler into the bedroom, and then the witness heard multiple gunshots.

Howard said he heard the other victim, Harrington, yell, “Don’t kill me!” followed by more gunshots.

Howard said he ran out of the building. Upon his return to the flat shortly after, he saw the two bodies, one in the bedroom and one in the bathroom, and he left the flat and called 9-1-1.

Lawrence Paine

Howard subsequently identified a photograph of Paine as the person he knew as “Chan.”

George Donald also said he was present at the time of the shootings. He described the events preceding the shootings and identified Paine from a photograph as someone he knew as “Chan.”

The State Crime Laboratory examiner determined from the shells that the firearm used to commit the double homicide was a Ruger semiautomatic pistol that took nine-millimeter caliber ammunition, and that the rifling had lands and grooves with a right-hand twist.

Because the gun was not recovered, the State Crime Laboratory report requested that police send any 9mm caliber firearm recovered to the lab for comparison with the collected evidence.

Example of a Ruger 9mm pistol

Paine’s Story

On the evening of April 9 through the early morning of April 10, Paine said he was not in the flat where Saddler and Harrington were killed.

Instead, Paine said he was with Anthony “Skin” Blackman, who lived near 23rd Street and Keefe Avenue.

Paine picked up Skin around 8:00 in the evening. They drove around, then “a little bit after ten o’clock [they] went to the Paradise Strip Club,” where they stayed until “last call,” which Paine guessed was probably 1:30 a.m.

Paine testified they stopped for gas, after which he dropped Skin off.

Later, around 2:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., Paine left Milwaukee and drove to Minnesota to see his young son, who lived with his son’s mother in Mount View. He arrived at the Golden Valley Super 8 hotel around 8:30 in the morning. (According to Google maps, the drive is just over five hours.)

While he was in Minnesota, he heard from Skin about the murders.

Paine later testified he remained in the Minneapolis area until approximately the beginning of May. He then took a bus from Minneapolis to Whitewater, Wisconsin, to stay with Zenobia Davis, a woman he met in Minneapolis.

After arriving in Whitewater, he heard from his mother that he was on news reports about the murders. He returned to Milwaukee and went to the police.

‘Q’ Terry 

In October 2004, Milwaukee Police, led by Officer Ala Awadallah, arrested Ronald Q. Terry in a drug bust. Officer Awadallah recovered a black Ruger P85 nine-millimeter Luger caliber firearm, which had rifling characteristics similar to the unrecovered weapon used in the double homicide.

If the State Crime Lab ever tested Q Terry’s gun, they never produced a report.

However, there was something else that tied Q. Terry to the scene. His DNA was found at the murder scene, along with eight other people, including the two men, Howard and Donald, who called 911 that night and then fled. 

Zenobia Davis

After Paine turned himself in, he told police about Skin and Zenobia Davis.

Skin could not be found. 

But Milwaukee Police detectives Katherine Hein and Gilbert Hernandez interviewed Davis after Paine provided them with her contact information.

Zenobia Davis

Davis told police that Skin had “changed his cell phone number because he had outstanding warrants and was afraid of going to jail.”

Davis told police Skin telephoned Paine when he discovered police claimed Paine was involved in the murders because Skin saw Paine’s picture on television. But she only heard Paine’s side of the telephone conversation with Skin.

She heard Paine tell Skin, “Dog, I was at a club on the south side. Dog, wasn’t I with you? Yeah, yeah, okay.”

After Paine turned himself in, Skin telephoned Davis to console her about Paine, telling her not to worry because Paine “would probably be out in a couple days.”

Sherika Ray

Sherika Ray lived downstairs from the murder apartment. She had spoken to police about what she heard on the night of the murders.

After police arrested Q. Terry in the drug bust in October, she received a call from jail. It was Q. Terry. He wanted to know what she witnessed during the double homicide and what she had told police. 

Terry warned Ray that something could happen to her if she cooperated with the police.

A police report included a statement from Sherika Ray. 

She said after Terry was released from jail, around Thanksgiving 2004, Terry and some other men approached her mother’s house when she was there. They displayed their guns. Ray was fearful and left the house.


A 2005 trial, the State of Wisconsin v. Lawrence C. Paine, was declared a mistrial after the jury was found hopelessly deadlocked.

In July 2005, the state retried Paine before an all-white jury. Judge David A. Hansher presided over the trial.

Judge David A. Hansher

There was no videotape evidence that Paine was at either the Paradise Strip Club or the gas station.

Paine’s entire alibi was Skin. He could not produce Skin at trial. The jury heard evidence of the dubious existence of Skin through the defendant’s statements to police and Paine’s testimony.

Paine had to tell the jury about Skin.

Davis attended Paine’s trial, although Paine’s lawyers did not call her. Had Davis testified, she would have corroborated Skin’s existence (as opposed to Paine having made Skin up to provide himself with an alibi) and corroborated Skin’s fear of talking with police.

Sherika Ray appeared on the witness list for trial. The record does not show she testified. 

Paine testified that he knew both victims, Saddler and Harrington, and they were “good friends, close friends.” 

The jury found Paine guilty of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. Judge Hansher sentenced Paine to two life sentences. He has been in prison since 2004.

After the Trial

The Gun

The gun that Milwaukee Police Officer Awadallah seized from Q Terry, the Ruger P85, was returned to its legal owner in March 2005.

It took Paine 13 years to have the gun analyzed.

In June 2018, the owner allowed Paine to have bullets fired in the recovered firearm tested by a forensics examiner.

The report shows the Ruger had a similar rifling pattern to the casings and bullets recovered from the double homicide. 

Q Terry

In 2007, Q Terry pled guilty to conspiring to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, fifty grams of crack, and an unspecified quantity of marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and was sentenced to 260 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. 

The Police Officer Who Took the Gun

Milwaukee Police Officer Ala Awadallah was convicted of shaking down a parolee for money and guns and threatening to plant evidence on different suspects. He was kicked off the force and convicted of a misdemeanor.

Ala Awadallah

Skin Found Too Late

If Anthony Mendez “Skin” Blackman had come forward to testify, Paine might be a free man today. And he could still provide some important information today. 

Unfortunately for Paine, Skin can’t do that because he was shot to death in Milwaukee on December 17, 2007. The murderer was never found. 

RIP Anthony Blackman, ‘Skin’

Lead Homicide Detective Hernandez

Homicide Detective Gilbert Hernandez led the case against Paine.

Detective Gilbert Hernandez

Hernandez was also involved in the convictions of William Avery, who spent six years in prison wrongfully convicted of a murder committed by serial killer, Walter Ellis AKA the ‘Milwaukee Strangler,’ who killed at least seven women, all prostitutes.

Hernandez testified Avery admitted to killing Maryetta Griffin. Avery testified he never confessed.

Avery was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but DNA evidence proved Ellis was the murderer.

Avery sued the city and won $1 million. At the civil suit, Hernandez continued to testify against Avery, but the jury did not believe him. 

William Avery

Chaunte Ott served 13 years in prison for another murder linked to Ellis. Again, DNA exonerated Ott. In Ott’s federal lawsuit against the city, he contended Milwaukee detectives coerced confessions out of two men who implicated him. Ott won the civil lawsuit, and the City paid him $6.5 million,

Chaunte Ott

After sending at least two innocent men to prison, and maybe many more, Hernandez, accused of fabricating statements from suspects and informants, took credit for cracking the Milwaukee Stranger, Walter Ellis’ case. 

Later, he was promoted to the state Department of Justice and is now retired.

Lost Video Tape

After 18 years of trying to find the videotape, Paine and members of his team claim the Milwaukee Police Department finally released copies of all the tapes of the Paradise Club in their possession both the tapes used as evidence and the video they say Hernandez suppressed the unedited tape, an old VHS tape which shows Paine and the late Skin Blackman at the Paradise Club on the night and at the same time someone gunned down Janari Saddler and Aaron Harrington.  

His team has promised to provide that tape to Frank Report.

Paine Claims Innocence

Lawrence Paine said, “I have been in prison for 18 years since I turned myself in. I’m innocent. I am asking you to help me get my case reopened. 

I have the video, and I can share it with you. Please help me get this evidence out. A dirty cop framed me. They framed lots of innocent black men.”

A Final Note

The Wisconsin Zip Code 53206 covers an African American neighborhood north of downtown Milwaukee. 

As of 2019, it reportedly had the highest black male incarceration rate and the second-highest black female incarceration rate in the USA. The rate of black men incarcerated is said to be 62%.

Now, we must wonder if it is because of the proclivities of the black men and women who live there, combined with the efficiency, inefficiency, or downright corruption of the police force who operate there. Possibly, the police or certain members of the force are an invidious criminal element themselves, running drugs, laundering money, protecting gangsters, and framing innocent men and women.  

Memorial in neighborhood within Wisconsin’s zip code 53206

About the author

Frank Parlato


Click here to post a comment

  • Frank-

    This story you’ve provided us is journalism.
    Because a man may have been railroaded. Not because of the color of his skin.


    You are an amazing writer. I still more member a number of pieces from years ago . The explanation you gave how cults in various ways, suck people was genius.

    It isn’t the subject matter I remember. It’s the quality of the writing.

    I miss that guy. He’s a natural writer!
    That’s the guy who missed his calling.

    • That natural writer’s been in receipt of relentless lawfare from several bellies of several old beasts, yet to be slayed.

      “… Today I shall speak to you on the subject of individual citizenship, the one subject of vital importance to you, my hearers, and to me and my countrymen, because you and we are great citizens of great democratic republics.

      A democratic republic such as ours—an effort to realize in its full sense government by, of, and for the people—represents the most gigantic of all possible social experiments, the one fraught with great responsibilities alike for good and evil.

      The success of republics like yours and like ours means the glory, and our failure the despair, of mankind; and for you and for us the question of the quality of the individual citizen is supreme.

      Under other forms of government, under the rule of one man or very few men, the quality of the leaders is all-important.

      If, under such governments, the quality of the rulers is high enough, then the nations for generations lead a brilliant career, and add substantially to the sum of world achievement, no matter how low the quality of the average citizen; because the average citizen is an almost negligible quantity in working out the final results of that type of national greatness.

      But with you and us the case is different. With you here, and with us in my own home, in the long run, success or failure will be conditioned upon the way in which the average man, the average woman, does his or her duty, first in the ordinary, every-day affairs of life, and next in those great occasional cries which call for heroic virtues.

      The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed. The stream will not permanently rise higher than the main source; and the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation.

      Therefore it behooves us to do our best to see that the standard of the average citizen is kept high; and the average cannot be kept high unless the standard of the leaders is very much higher.”

  • “… example # 1, the crime lab stated “The gun used in this crime would be a certain make and model with a right hand twist and grooves and shells where of a certain brand” And they did find this brand upon a man who DNA”S matched the crime scene. Months later a total match down to the shells even what was left added , A full magazine when you include what was found at the crime scence, but when trail started and ballistic analysis said” He was never given a gun to test” and the DA and my Lawyer refused to ask him , “Why” His name is on a document saying it didn’t match and the serial numbers are blacked out and on an appeal the circuit court Judge refuse to allow me a hearing to question this and other things. There is evidence that they are holding and not showing. If given the opportunity upon examining everything that was not showed to the jury. I would be free. A total corruption happened to my case among others that are in prison because our rights don’t exist anymore , They are taken and used upon the authorities benefit .I’m asking people to help me by signing my petition because I’m innocent and my mother is and has severely suffered knowing of her son’s torment of being in prison and being innocent. I reach out to anyone that could step in to help me be free. I ask that my case be re-opened because the forensic advancement, and not only that but upon reviewing my entire case, My DNA was never found at the crime scence because I was never there and I’m innocent of all charges. …“

  • “I become irritated at the attempt to govern mankind by force and fraud, as if they were all knaves and fools.”

    — Thomas Paine

    Were AFCC networks active in Wisconsin around 2004 and since then? If so, did AFCC members participate in the Paine case? Mr. Holub, Mr. Holz and Mr. Simonson were AFCC board of directors members 1975 – 76. Maybe before and maybe after that, too.

    Since then, how many AFCC members limited their involvement in the Wisconsin judicial system to family court cases?

    Was there ever a time when AFCC’s Wisconsin members were judges, attorneys, court officers, administrators, private vendors and employees of state government offices — as was the case in the AFCC, Inc. set up in Connecticut?

    “Association of Family Conciliation Courts and Services Board of Directors 1975-1976” in Wisconsin:

    Mr. Donald A. Holub
    Courthouse, Room 711
    901 North 9th Street
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233

    A late Donald A. Holub was a social worker at Rehab West. Meyer Elkin was also a social worker in California who developed the idea of the “conciliation courts“ in which social workers would assist in court processes. The idea of “therapeutic jurisprudence” then evolved alongside changes to ALI model penal codes. What role did AFCC networks and social workers play in Paine’s case — if any?

    Judge Marvin C. Holz
    Branch No. 15
    Circuit Court
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233

    A late Marvin C. Holz was a judge in Milwaukee for 28 years. He was a Dean of The Wisconsin Judicial College and “worked with Judge Elmer W. Roller who signed the decision declaring that the Milwaukee Braves must return to Milwaukee or the National League must guarantee the city would get a new franchise. This was part of an antitrust suit brought against Milwaukee Braves et al. by the state of Wisconsin.”

    Judge Archie E. Simonson
    106 Farley Avenue
    Madison, Wisconsin 53705

    A late Archie Simonson was “a Master Mason and later became a member of Zor Shriners located in Madison, Wisconsin. Archie joined two parade units, the Pipes and Drums and the Marching Patrol. He also served several years on Zor’s Board of Trustees, being its Chairman for five years. Archie also has served on many Wisconsin Masonic Grand Lodge committees, and in 2001 was given the Meritorious Masonic Service Award for his contributions to Masonry.”

  • Frank-

    I finally read this story. It’s intriguing to say the least.

    I took a look at his Twitter feed someone set up for him – not much else about this guy exists outside of what you’ve published.

    I you’re definitely the right guy for the job of helping this man.

    It’s going take someone who’s good at developing sources(people skills).

    Good luck my friend & God bless!!!

  • 😃 New York and London are Alpha ++ cities. 🥇 🥇
    ☹️ Milwaukee is only a Gamma city. 🗑

    Servants serve masters.

    The best, most special and most worthy Grandmasters in New York and London need crime in the streets, corruption in the courts and wars to level cities so multinational corporations in control of the world can rebuild cities to serve those same multinational corporations.

    “… The classification “results are derived from the activities of 175 leading firms providing advanced producer services across 707 cities worldwide (i.e. the input is 175 x 707 = 123,725 pieces of information). The results should be interpreted as indicating the importance of cities as nodes in the world city network (i.e. enabling corporate globalization).”

    The cities in the 2020 classification are as follows …

  • 😃 New York and London are Alpha ++ cities. 🥇 🥇
    ☹️ Milwaukee is only a Gamma city. 🗑

    Gamma cities serve Alpha ++ cities and servants have always served masters.

    The best, most special and most worthy people in New York and London need crime in the streets. They need corruption in the courts. They need wars to level cities which can then be rebuilt again.

    Ask Larry Fink about it. He’ll tell you.

    What else other than crime, corruption and chaos, besides central bank digital currency linked to social credit scores, would keep servants in their place when masters aren’t allowed to look like they own their servants?

    Maintaining control of servants with crime, corruption and war is sometimes called, “order out of chaos” — and as president Joe Biden said a couple of weeks ago, “God save the Queen, man.”

    Maybe if someone tells the president of America what happened in Milwaukee, we can get him to tell everyone to save Milwaukee, too?

    Information about “the world city network” from Wikipedia … The classification “results are derived from the activities of 175 leading firms providing advanced producer services across 707 cities worldwide (i.e. the input is 175 x 707 = 123,725 pieces of information). The results should be interpreted as indicating the importance of cities as nodes in the world city network (i.e. enabling corporate globalization).”

    The cities in the 2020 classification are as follows …

  • The police take a lot of risk in that butt ugly ass hood. I ain’t gonna do it for the pay they offer police. They got to make extra money with some guns and drug and they take care of they own.

    so you gonna risk it?

    You gotta be tough as the niggers there or you gonna be lunch. You move nigger

  • Thank you for pursuing these kind of innocence project cases. Corruption eats away the fabric of society, as does censorship, increasing distrust, division, and lawlessness. This is akin to the work to shed light on corruption in family court systems. May the work of good people bring needed change, and thank you again, Frank Parlato.

    • Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?

      Hot ashes for trees?
      Hot air for a cool breeze?
      Cold comfort for change?
      Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?

      We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl, year after year
      Running over the same old ground
      What have we found?

      👉 Walk-on parts in the war for lead roles in a cage help no one.

  • Holy shit! This is going to be a fun story to watch. The black community should hop on over to Frank Report. I have a good feeling he will be free with some help. It is totally sad he has spent 18 yrs in prison because of corruption.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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