Family, friends pack courtroom as judge sets bond for man accused of killing woman, hiding body in barrel

Bond was continued at $210,000 today for a Middletown man who is accused of killing a woman he allegedly mutilated and hid in a metal drum.

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. On Wednesday, a Butler County grand jury indicted Slaton for murder, felonious assault, four counts of tampering with evidence, involuntary manslaughter, three counts of gross abuse of a corpse and assault.

The court was filled with Cornett’s family and friends as the bond was reset.

Slaton has been housed Butler County Jail in lieu of an original $210,000 bond since June after being charged with felonies but not murder. That bond was set in Middletown Municipal Court.

Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth set the bond at Slaton’s arraignment Thursday. He is scheduled to be back in court on Nov. 5 for a pretrial hearing.

The Butler County Coroner’s Office had not released Cornett’s manner and cause of death as of Wednesday. The condition of the body likely made forensic testing difficult.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said he does not need that coroner’s ruling to move forward with the case.

"I can string evidence together to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to how she died or I wouldn’t be taking a case to a jury. Obviously cutting fingers off, surgically removing tattoos, stuffing somebody in a barrel, throwing it over the fence when police arrive at the door and other statements to police all can yield circumstantial and direct evidence beyond what a coroner may say.”

Middletown police were called to Slaton’s home on June 30 to investigate a tip about a dead woman in a barrel on the property. When police knocked on the door and told Slaton about the complaint, he refused to let officers inside. He went back into the house, ran out of the back and dumped the barrel over a fence into a neighbor’s yard, Middletown police Maj. Scott Reeve said.

When officers opened the barrel, they found a nude woman’s body.

During an interview with detectives, Slaton admitted to being in the house with the victim and said that after using drugs, he woke up and found her hanging in the basement, according to Middletown Municipal Court documents. He told police he used a knife to cut off her fingers and tattoos

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