Middletown man charged with killing woman and hiding body in barrel wants statements suppressed

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Middletown Police investigating suspicious death on Yankee Road

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The attorney for a Middletown man accused of killing a woman and hiding her in a metal drum wants statements he provided to detectives thrown out at trial.

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. In October, 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.

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Slaton was in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Thursday and Friday for a hearing on a defense motion to suppress evidence ahead of his trial scheduled for May 3.

Defense attorney David Brewer says statements obtained from Slaton came in violation of his right against self-incrimination and the right to effective assistance of counsel.

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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

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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.

“Upon appointment, his attorney should have seen him immediately and told him not to talk to police,” Brewer wrote in the motion. “An effective attorney would have seen Mr. Slaton the first day on the case, and explained to him why not to speak to police. In so speaking, Mr. Slaton now has many explanations for what happened in that case, and has stated matters in a way no attorney would.”

But 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, they said.

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During the interviews, Slaton was provided food, drinks and tobacco and read his Miranda rights, Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Heile said in court documents.

On Thursday, one of the three interviews was played in court. 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”

Slaton said he knew Cornett from a friend she had dated and “me and her been talking for a while about getting together with (his girlfriend).”

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.

“I panicked, I ran upstairs, I was puking. Trying to gather my own senses. I kind of spazzed out,” Slaton told the detective.

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.

Slaton said he didn’t call police because he was on parole and didn’t want police to see drugs and paraphernalia in the house.

When Mynhier said he didn’t believe she hanged herself and pressed Slaton on whether she may have died during a sex act, he said, “I did not hurt her at all. I don’t hurt women.”

Soon after, Slaton said Mynhier was lying and added, “I’m done talking. I need my lawyer.” That interview ended.

The hearing will continue on Jan 28.

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