Death Row Inmate Hanged, Autopsy Scheduled

A death row inmate hanged over the weekend was set to be put to death Wednesday in a murder one investigator said was the most brutal he’d ever seen.

But Billy Slagle, the death row inmate hanged, took the decision out of the hands of the state. And, it appears, Slagle, 44, hastened matters in his own cell despite the common practice of placing inmates facing a looming execution on suicide watch.

Slagle was 18 when he brutally stabbed a neighbor dead with a pair of scissors while two children in her care fled in terror. He admits to being drunk and high at the time, but in a letter to the parole board expressed remorse for the murder.

Before the death row inmate was hanged in his cell, seemingly by his own hand, he wrote:

“I’m neither inherently evil nor a bad person, but rather I’m someone that has made a terrible mistake and wishes that I could take that night all back… If giving my life would bring Ms. Pope back, then I would readily give it.”

Mari Anne Pope was killed by Slagle back in 1987 as she babysat, and one of the two children testified that her killer wore only underwear and straddled her body during the crime. While acquitted on attempted rape charges, Slagle was found guilty of aggravated murder, burglary and robbery, and sentenced to die.

ABC reports an autopsy on Slagle is scheduled, saying:

“Slagle, 44, was found in his death row cell early Sunday at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution in Chillicothe, Ohio, prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said. He was declared dead one hour later.”

It is unclear if the death row inmate hanged will prompt repercussions or a policy change in light of the slip up.

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