Judge: Statements made by Middletown man accused of killing woman and hiding her in barrel can be used at trial

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Middletown Police investigating suspicious death on Yankee Road

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Statements made to detectives by a Middletown man accused of killing a woman and hiding her in a metal drum will be permitted at his May trial, a Butler County Common Pleas Judge has ruled.

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 for hearings this week on a defense motion to suppress evidence ahead of his trial scheduled for May 10.

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.

Attorney David Brewer, left, talks with William Slaton during a hearing Thursday in Butler County Common Pleas Court. Slaton is charged with murder and tampering with evidence for allegedly killing a woman and putting her body n a metal drum. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Attorney David Brewer, left, talks with William Slaton during a hearing Thursday in Butler County Common Pleas Court. Slaton is charged with murder and tampering with evidence for allegedly killing a woman and putting her body n a metal drum. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Brewer said Slaton was interviewed three times by detectives, including twice after his arraignment and appointment of counsel.

Prosecutors argue that Slaton was appointed an attorney on July 1 at arraignment and was told he would talk with that attorney that morning. It is not known what was said between the attorney and Slaton because it is privileged, but prosecutors say Slaton requested to speak with Det. Brook McDonald on July 3 and July 5. That means contact with police, except the interview on June 30 in which he was not yet charged, was initiated by Slaton, according to prosecutors.

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Slaton denied killing Cornett, but offered different statements about how she died in the interviews.

All three interviews were played during the hearing for Judge Keith Spaeth. The judge ruled Thursday 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.

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 her tattoos with a razer blade and 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 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.

“Everything was cool,” Slaton said, noting the man and others were “partying” in the basement. Slaton said he was upstairs when he heard a “thud.” When he went downstairs, Cornett was on the ground dead.

“(The man) said, ‘You got to get rid of her,’” Slaton said.

The man ran up the steps and left, he said. Slaton choked up and said, “I went down there and I held her for a while, it was surreal. We just had sex earlier that day.”

McDonald said he didn’t believe the story, adding, “I think you did this, Bill.”

Slaton answered, “No I didn’t do it. I am a lot a things, but I don’t put my hands on women. I won’t go to prison for murdering a woman I loved because I didn’t.”

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