Inmate set for execution found dead in cell

Convicted killer commits suicide at Chillicothe Correctional Institution just days before his Wednesday execution.
Associated Press
Aug 5, 2013


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 Monday afternoon," she told The Associated Press in an email.

An autopsy will be conducted Monday, 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.




Lets get Matt and his witch hunters on this!!!

2cents's picture

"Last week, Slagle's attorney argued that a jury never got the chance to hear the full details of his troubled childhood."

Hey if that keeps working they will keep using it. Only problem now is that his lawyers will sue because he access to hanging materials!


2cents - that's what I was thinking too! I'm so sick of hearing all these excuses that people are coming up with for not taking responsibility for the crimes they've committed (i.e. they're to fat and the attempts to get a vein would be cruel and unusual punishment, his mom used drugs and alcohol during pregnancy, religious beliefs, etc.), it's all a bunch of bull!!! Even when Jesus was being crucified and the thief beside him ask him to forgive him of his sins, he didn't say ok now you can get off the cross and go be a good boy, he still had to pay for the sins he committed. Unless there's complete and accurate proof of innocence - proof that a mistake was made during their trial or was found after the verdict - I really don't think that someone should be given a chance for parole once they've been given the death sentence.


the guy saved the state a bunch of money. did us a favor. sorry but I don't feel at all bad that he killed himself. we've all had bad childhoods but we didn't go out and kill anyone or rob them or take away 2 kids' mom. the justice system is imperfect and there are many in jail that don't belong there but this guy did. I don't necessarily support the death penalty because I don't think we have the right to take a life no matter what the reasoning but there is some evil that needs to be snuffed and however he left this world is fine with me.


I guess all of the protesters heading to Chillicothe will have to turn around and head home. I used to live there and when they executed an inmate the town was inundated with anti-death penalty protesters. I don't miss that town much, it smelled bad due to the paper plant.


If only they would all do's a more fitting death and saves the state a little money...