Middletown man accused of killing woman, hiding her in barrel changes plea to some charges

A Middletown man is still scheduled to go to trial next month for allegedly killing a woman then hiding her body in a metal drum, but he changed his plea to the crimes that happened after her death.

William Slaton, 35, was arrested June 30 after Middletown police discovered 21-year-old Cecily Cornett’s body in a barrel at his home in the 3200 block of Yankee Road. His is charged with murder, felonious assault, four counts of tampering with evidence, involuntary manslaughter, three counts of gross abuse of a corpse and assault.

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Slaton was in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Thursday afternoon, and he pleaded no contest to all the tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse charges, all felonies.

A trial on the remaining charges — murder, felonious assault, involuntary manslaughter and assault — is scheduled to begin May 10 in Judge Keith Spaeth’s courtroom. He waived his right to a jury trial, and the case will be tried by the judge.

In January, the judge ruled hours of interrogation tapes by Middletown Police detectives could be used as evidence in trial. Defense attorney David Brewer argued statements obtained from Slaton came in violation of his right against self-incrimination and the right to effective assistance of counsel.

In the tapes played for the judge, Slaton denied killing Cornett but offered different statements about how she died. Slaton repeatedly told detectives what he did to Cornett’s body after she was dead.

In the June 30 interview with Det. Ken Mynhier, the barefoot, bare-chested Slaton ate chips and drank soda as he recounted the hours of “partying” with Cornett and another woman he referred to as the “hippy chick.”

Cornett had been at the Yankee Road house for several days. Slaton said that, after sleeping off partying that included “a lot of grams of meth,” he went to the basement and found Cornett hanging from a water pipe with a belt around her neck.

Slaton said he left Cornett in the basement for multiple days. Then he cut her fingertips off with a cigar cutter and cut her tattoos off with a razer blade, and he put them in a Tupperware bowl. When others where asleep, Slaton said he cut the top of a metal drum, carried it downstairs, put Cornett’s body in it and took the barrel to an area near the shed.

On July 5, after receiving cigarettes and a soda and complimenting McDonald on his shoes, Slaton told the detective someone, a man with whom Cornett allegedly had a dispute over drugs, killed her.

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Spaeth ruled that Slaton’s rights were not violated, noting his Miranda rights were read in each interview and Slaton asked to speak to detectives in the last two interviews.

Brewer declined comment about the no contest pleas.

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