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.

NOCHE

Cedar Point


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
Crime and Courts


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

FitzGerald isn't giving up, but many Stark voters are worried, wary and weary
SB5 stands for "Snow Ball 5" because voters have about a snow ball's chance of remembering what it was.

Columbus groups are trying to pass a Bill of Rights to combat fracking
Its about time we make a stand against the criminal actions of an entire Indsutry.

Crystal Ball says Ohio governor's race is done
How much is the Kasich campaign paying you to keep repeating the phrase "woman who is not his wife"? Fitzgerald was in the car with a friend who happens to be f...

Plane that crashed killing Case students is a popular training aircraft
The following is incorrect. The last few words should read "UNDER maximum gross take-off weight." “They have a normal take-off speed and all those take-off...

Exploradio: The never-ending war against superbugs
Super Federico ,we are so proud of you ,and very lucky to be among your friends . Keep it up human kind needs people like you to survive .Thanks for being so d...

Ohio's Lyme disease-carrying tick population is exploding
Interesting report. The last sentence needs some editing. It isn't a good idea to "save garments carrying ticks for analysis." The garments carrying t...

Teach for America enters third year in Ohio
For more background on TFA, check out http://reconsideringtfa.wordpress.com/

Faith leaders hold week-long prayer vigil at Ohio Statehouse
I think this is the wrong link to the audio. Its Andy Chow about cigarette taxes.

A $30 million plan to turn Cleveland's Public Square from gray to green
The current plan is for the Land Bank, RTA, and Mr. Jeremy Paris to run a bus line through the new Public Square and cutting the park in half. Save Public Squar...

Medina County residents question safety of proposed natural gas pipeline
I'm very concerned about this nexus project. I've received mail requesting my permission to allow the company to survey my property. I don't understand how thi...

Copyright © 2014 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