Prince McCree murder, Milwaukee man pleads guilty

Prince McCree; David Pietura

The Milwaukee man charged in the death of 5-year-old Prince McCree, whose body was later found in a dumpster, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Monday, June 3.

In court, David Pietura, 27, changed his plea to guilty to a charge of first-degree intentional homicide as an accessory to murder.

Two other charges, physical abuse of a child, repeated acts causing death and concealment of a corpse (both as party to a murder) were dismissed but read for sentencing purposes.

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A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 26.

Another person, Erik Mendoza, 16, was also charged with multiple felonies in the case.

Mendoza was originally charged in juvenile court, but is now being charged as an adult.

Case details

McCree was last seen near 54th and Meinecke and reported missing on Oct. 25, 2023. His body was found around 9 a.m. the next morning near Hawley and Vliet — about a mile from where he was last seen.

Prosecutors said Pietura lived in the basement of the home where McCree and his family lived. On Oct. 25, prosecutors said McCree’s mother let him go play video games in the basement. When she woke up later, she couldn’t find him and called the police.

While searching the home, a police K-9 smelled decomposition on some sweatshirts, prosecutors said. A detective also noticed blood. A criminal complaint says Pietura initially denied any involvement.

Prosecutors said Pietura told police he entered Erik Mendoza by choking and beating McCree. Mendoza told police he was playing with McCree and became rough, according to the complaint, choking the 5-year-old and hitting him with a golf club multiple times. The criminal complaint details other horrific abuse the boy suffered before his death.

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When police interviewed Pietura, he said he was playing video games and then went for a walk with Mendoza. Pietura said they went to a park and returned around 2 p.m. Prosecutors said the GPS on Pietura’s cell phone contradicted that information, and police arrested Pietura for obstruction at that time.

Surveillance footage from the day McCree was last seen alive also shows Pietura and Mendoza walking down an alley off Cherry Street around 2 p.m. They are seen carrying a white trash bag, according to court records. The next day, around 7:45 a.m., in an interview with police, Pietura admitted where McCree’s body was. An hour later, McCree’s body was found.

Prosecutors said both Pietura and Mendoza took part in the murder.

A new law, named after Prince McCree, will allow emergency alerts for missing children like Prince — those who don’t meet the stricter criteria for an Amber Alert. It would work for them if they can’t get home without help or if the child is under 10.