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Crime and Courts


Appeals running out, death-row inmate Slagle commits suicide in prison
Billy Slagle is found hanged in his cell
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
In The Region:

Just three days before he was set to be executed, a condemned killer hanged himself at the state prison in Chillicothe. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler has more.

LISTEN: Billy Slagle is the first death-row inmate to kill himself in modern times.

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Forty-four-year-old Billy Slagle was pronounced dead around 6 a.m. Sunday, about an hour after he was found in his cell on death row. He was set to die Wednesday for the murder of his 40-year-old Cleveland neighbor, Mari Ann Pope, while she was babysitting two young children in 1987.

Slagle’s case was unusual because the Cuyahoga County prosecutor was among those appealing for clemency, saying that under current law Slagle likely would have been sentenced to life without parole instead of death.

The Ohio Parole Board disagreed by a vote of 6-4. Gov. John Kasich went along with its recommendation, but there was a last-minute court argument set for today.

Slagle is the second inmate facing execution to attempt suicide since Ohio restarted executions in 1999, but he’s the first to succeed in killing himself.

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