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Murders of Rachel Thompson and her two children featured on A Deadly Winter Blaze

Rachel Thompson photo
Murder of Rachel Thompson and her children involving Desmond Laster, Anthony Barnes, and Brittney Robertson spotlighted on A Deadly Winter Blaze. Pic Credit: Family Photo

A Deadly Winter Blaze on Investigation Discovery investigates the murder of 23-year-old Rachel Thompson and her two children, whose bodies were found in aftermath of an apartment fire.

It was 4:30 a.m. on February 26, 2010, when Desmond Laster and Anthony Barnes accompanied 19-year-old Brittney Robertson to the apartment she shared with Thompson at the 800 block of S. 12th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Robertson reportedly had plans to rob her roommate of $800.

According to Barnes statements, they found Thompson sleeping on the couch. Laster punched her in the face in an effort to wake her up.

He then tied up Thompson and her two children, aged 3 and 4, with duct tape.

With help from Robertson, he suffocated the children with a plastic bag.

Barnes stated that Robertson turned to Thompson and repeatedly stabbed her before “talking trash” to her.

Brittany Robertson photo
Brittany Robertson was involved in murder of Rachel Thompson and her children. Pic Credit: Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office

Before fleeing the scene, Robertson, Laster, and Barnes set the apartment on fire and kidnapped Thompson’s 6-week-old baby.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Williams told jurors that jealousy was the motive for the killing.

Months before the murder, Robertson was pregnant by Maurice Visor, who was also expecting a baby with Thompson.

Thompson went on to have her baby, but Robertson’s baby died shortly after birth.

Investigators don’t know why Robertson took Thompson’s baby, but she later dropped him off at a nearby church.

The baby was unharmed.

Firefighters later discovered Thompson and her two children dead inside the apartment.

Desmond Laster photo
Desmond Laster involved in murder of Rachel Thompson and her two children. Pic Credit: Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office

When officials learned that Robertson was also a resident in the home, they broadcasted a photo of her on television as they were unsure if she was a victim or the perpetrator.

That caused Barnes to panic.

He thought if Robertson was arrested, she would cooperate with police. Therefore, with “the direction of Laster,” he fatally shot her in the head at 6:00 p.m. that same day.

Barnes and Laster were later arrested in connection to the quadruple murders.

Anthony Barnes photo
Anthony Barnes involved in murder of Rachel Thompson, her two children, and Brittney Robertson. Pic Credit: Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office

As part of a plea deal, Barnes testified against Laster and admitted his part in the three murders and the robbery. He was handed 40 years in prison.

In March 2011, Laster was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and was sentenced to four life terms with no chance of parole.

A Deadly Winter Blaze airs at 10pm on Investigation Discovery.

Angelica N. Sumter


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