News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Metro RTA

Levin Furniture

Wayside Furniture


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Courts and Crime


Death-row inmate who committed suicide had another chance to appeal
Cleveland inmate Billy Slagle killed himself Sunday morning
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JO INGLES


Reporter
Jo Ingles
 
New information could have saved Cleveland death-row inmate Billy Slagle from execution.
Courtesy of State of Ohio
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Billy Slagle of Cleveland killed himself without knowing there was a chance his execution could have been stayed at the last minute. Assistant federal Public Defender Vicki Werneke says a new appeal effort had begun Friday evening.

In an interview with Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles, Werneke says her colleague, Joe Wilhelm, got new information from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim Ginty’s office and Werneke explains how it could have made a difference.

 

LISTEN: WERNEKE ON APPEAL

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (0:20)


LISTEN: Public defender explains why Slagle's last appeal had a chance

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (2:14)


Werneke – The original trial prosecutor, the assistant prosecutor, had informed McGinty’s office that at the time of the trial in 1988, the prosecutor then, the head prosecutor John Corrigan, had authorized a plea deal to Mr. Slagle that if he pled guilty, he would get life imprisonment with parole after 30 years.

And according to the assistant prosecutor, he had told defense counsel about it and the defense counsel had rejected the plea offer. We were surprised by that because when we had met with Billy back in May, getting ready for his clemency hearing, … he had lamented the fact that if he had been offered a deal at the time of the trial, he would have taken it because he had lots of remorse and had accepted responsibility for what he had done even back at the trial in 1988.

Ingles – And so he never knew about this at the time – the attorneys did not tell him?

Werneke- Correct. Apparently, as far as we can tell, as far as we know, Billy never knew that there was a deal offered at the time of the trial and we think he would have taken it.

Ingles – What difference does this make now? Would you have been able to go back and get an appeal based on this or what?

Werneke –That’s what our plans were. By the time Joe got off the phone with McGinty, it was 5:30. I was still driving back from the prison because it was a four-hour drive. And we had got our hopes up. … We were already strategizing about what we were going to be doing. And then about 7 o'clock Friday night, Matt Meyer, assistant county prosecutor, called Joe on his cell phone and said, 'Are you going to be filing a stay of execution with the Ohio Supreme Court?'

And Joe said, 'Yes, that’s one of the things we immediately thought of was to file another stay of execution on Monday morning.' And Matt Mayer told Joe “We … are not going to oppose it.”

Joe and I came in on Saturday and prepared a motion with the court, Joe had typed up what was going to be an affidavit based on the conversation he had with Mr. McGinty and we were going to submit that Monday morning. …. And the fact that it was going to be unopposed by the prosecutors, which would be the only entity that could object, we felt rather confident that the Ohio Supreme Court would stay the execution.

If we had any thought that he was going to hurt himself, obviously we would have informed the prison that we were concerned about him hurting himself too,

Werneke says it’s difficult to communicate with prisoners over the weekend, and she had no indication that Slagle was thinking about suicide. He was found hanging in his cell at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution, early Sunday morning.

 

Listener Comments:

Really? "It's difficult to communicate with prisoners over the weekend." Right especially when its about someone who's on DEATH row.. its not like its urgent or important or anything.. you know the usual, life, death.. they're the same thing, there's no urgency in trying to not let the inmate enjoy the beautiful sunny weather we have outside when they're able to maybe see it in windows when they walk the hallways every now and then.. no, no urgency, this makes complete sense...

Where's your heart?
And how is 30 years in prison with parole better?
Inmates should not be in a situation where they are allowed to kill themselves.. this was obvious neglect.

I don't know his crime, but what disgusts me from this article is the lack of obvious care. Lots of prisons go out of their way to ensure that the inmates don't have any means to hurt others or themselvs.. It doesn't seem like that was done here.

Disapointing.


Posted by: Natalie (Cleveland) on August 12, 2013 8:08AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Cuyahoga Valley National Park OK's sharpshooters to thin deer herds
In this article you mention that the Mule Deer Foundation is a "hunting group" in reality the Mule Deer Foundation is a conservation group that is over 25 years...

In the driver's seat of history
I believe he was a teacher of mine as James Ford Rhodes. My favorite teacher of all time! Loved learning this part of his amazing history.

Cleveland RTA is moving Public Square bus stops beginning this week
I am very confused. Why are you taking one or more of the park and ride 246 out of service in the morning. I looking over the new schedule I see that there ar...

Canton school board will vote Wednesday on its high school merger
Great to see that THE REPOSITORY is advising a 'no' vote for now! Another point, besides all the Very accurate points already made against this move is the fac...

Some parents opting their students out of Common Core test
I am an 8th grader at a school in Allen County. I have just recently taken the ELA performance based assessment and found it extremely difficult. It asked me a ...

Fallout from the Ohio Supreme Court Munroe Falls ruling
The comment by Nathan Johnson from OEC is confusing. Instead of cities being 'emboldened' to craft zoning laws that were just stricken down by this ruling, comm...

Stopping sediment dumping in Lake Erie
Ah, yes, the Army Coro of Engineers, the geniuses that designed the levee system in New Orleans that has made the flooding worse due to no sediment reaching the...

Ohio charter school critic says reform bills are a good step
The cold truth is that these charter schools are offering services beyond the what the state tests can guage. Parents and students have a choice and they are ch...

State law trumps restrictions on oil and gas drilling in Munroe Falls
Justice O'Neill's quote brings up a point I wish WKSU would address: since, unlike for Federal judges, our judges here in Ohio are elected, and therefore respo...

Ohio Supreme Court invalidates local fracking bans
If Ohio has their way, Fracking Wells will be planted in the courtyard of every town. That is if the State of Ohio can profit by it...for more on how the court ...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University