Ohio killer set for execution found hanged in cellBy THOMAS J. SHEERAN
The Associated Press | August 05,2013CLEVELAND — A man condemned to death for fatally stabbing a neighbor during a Cleveland burglary was found hanged in his cell Sunday just days before his Wednesday execution.
Billy Slagle, 44, was found at about 5 a.m. at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution south of Columbus and was declared dead within the hour, prison spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.
“He was in his cell alone. No other inmates suspected to be involved,” Smith said in an email. “It does appear to be a suicide.”
Under regular prison policy, he was scheduled to be placed under pre-execution watch Sunday morning but “was not yet placed under constant watch,” Smith said.
Slagle’s defense team was shocked and saddened at the news and had no clue he might commit suicide, attorney Vicki Werneke said.
“We were still litigating in court and had hoped that the execution would have been stopped. There was oral argument scheduled for (this) afternoon,” she told The Associated Press in an email.
An autopsy will be conducted today, according to Mike Ratliff, chief investigator for the Ross County coroner. He said the case was under investigation and no initial findings could be provided.
Slagle was sentenced in 1988 to die for the stabbing of Mari Anne Pope, who was killed while two young children she was watching were in the house.
In a rare move, the prosecutor in Cleveland asked the Ohio Parole Board to spare Slagle. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said jurors today, with the option of life without parole, would be unlikely to sentence Slagle to death.
The parole board and Gov. John Kasich both rejected mercy for Slagle.
McGinty declined comment through a spokesman.
Last week, Slagle’s attorney argued that a jury never got the chance to hear the full details of his troubled childhood.
The attorneys, arguing for a new trial and to delay his execution, said that information met requirements for asking for a new trial, which normally must happen within four months of a conviction.
Slagle was “unavoidably prevented” from filing his request because his original attorneys didn’t develop and present the evidence, the filing said.
McGinty and Slagle’s attorneys had cited his age — at 18, he was barely old enough for execution in Ohio — and his history of alcohol and drug addiction.
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Tibetans' ability to breathe and absorb oxygen at high altitude might have been inherited from their ancient ancestors, our new pals, the Denisovans, more dominant in their day than anybody can remember.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald Editor Rob Mitchell and staff writer Bryanna Allen discuss conflict at Open Door Mission, MSJ's new principal, teens carve marble in West Rutland.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Researchers find new species of hominid, the Denisovans, and follow genetic evidence that place them across a wide swath of the globe before extinction 40,000 years ago.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Proctor estate sale hits serious legal speed bump, Rutland Town wraps up solar project regulations, Patty Minichiello interviews visiting sculptor in West Rutland and Castleton Crackers honored with national award.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Tamerlane, in 1401 on this day, lays waste to Baghdad; 'Rock Around The Clock' hits No. 1 on Billboard chart in 1955, stays there for eight weeks.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Texas towns, shaken by earthquakes linked to fracking for gas and oil, are fed up and scared, want to ban the practice,