He didn’t cheat death but Billy Slagle did cheat the executioner. The Daily Mail reports that Slagle, 44, was found hanging in his cell on Ohio’s death row today. He was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday.
Slagle was sentenced to die for fatally stabbing a neighbor, Mari Anne Pope, in 1987 during a Cleveland burglary. Two young children were present at the time of the murder.
JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution south of Columbus, said Slagle was found dangling from a bed sheet in his cell at around 5 a.m. Sunday. He was declared dead within the hour.
“He was in his cell alone. No other inmates suspected to be involved,” Smith said in an email to Associated Press’s Thomas J. Sheeran. “It does appear to be a suicide.”
Under regular prison policy, Slagle was scheduled to be placed under pre-execution watch Sunday morning but “was not yet placed under constant watch,” according to Smith.
Last week, Slagle’s attorney argued for clemency, insisting that the jury never got the chance to hear the full details of his troubled childhood. In a rare move, the prosecutor in Cleveland had asked the Ohio Parole Board to spare Slagle.
The parole board and Gov John Kasich both rejected the pleas for mercy.