Autopsy planned for condemned Ohio killer found hanging in his cell 3 days before execution

8/5/2013
ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS — An autopsy is being performed for a condemned Ohio killer found hanged in his death row cell just three days before his execution.

Prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith says 44-year-old Billy Slagle was found early Sunday at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution south of Columbus. He was declared dead about an hour later.

Slagle was sentenced to die for fatally stabbing neighbor Mari Anne Pope in 1987 during a Cleveland burglary while two young children were present.

An attorney for Slagle says the defense had hoped to stop his Wednesday execution. Vicki Werneke says the defense had no warning that Slagle might commit suicide.

Mike Ratliff, chief investigator for the Ross County coroner, says the case is under investigation and no initial findings could be provided.