An Ohio man accused of cutting off a woman’s fingers and tattoos and keeping her nude body in a barrel was indicted Wednesday on a murder charge.
35-year-old William Slaton was arrested after Middletown police discovered 21-year-old Cecily Cornett’s body in a barrel at his home in the 3200 block of Yankee Road. He was charged with murder, felonious assault, four counts of tampering with evidence, involuntary manslaughter, three counts of gross abuse of a corpse, and assault.
According to Ohio outlet WKRC:
Cecily Cornett, 21, had met Slaton online while Slaton was trying to arrange a threesome.
In statements to Middletown police detectives last summer, Slaton denied killing Cornett but offered different statements about how she died.
Slaton told investigators he woke up one morning after using drugs and found Cornett hanging in the basement. She was dead about five days before police found her in the container.
Slaton repeatedly told the police what he did to Cornett’s body after she was dead.
Slaton said he cut her fingertips off with a cigar cutter and cut her tattoos off with a razor blade, and he put them in a Tupperware bowl. When others were 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.
Slaton also allegedly confessed to keeping the woman’s body in his basement for several days before stuffing it into a metal drum.
Reports added that when police arrived confronted Slaton at his house, he went into his backyard and threw the barrel over his fence, authorities said. Police recovered the barrel and discovered Cornett’s nude body inside, covered in flies and apparently dead for around five days.
Slaton was arrested and police searched the house, where they allegedly discovered a bowl containing human fingers and patches of tattooed skin.
An autopsy was performed on Cornett, but a cause of death has not been determined.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said a reduced plea of involuntary plea was permitted in this case because of evidence issues, including no cause of death for Cornett:
“While the state had significant evidence that William Slaton tampered with evidence by grossly abusing the corpse of Cecily Cornett following her death, in order to successfully convict Slaton of murder, the state must also prove that he caused her death by knowingly causing serious physical harm to Cecily Cornett. Unfortunately, the coroner could not determine Cecily’s cause of death, but did note acute methamphetamine intoxication as a contributing cause of death,” Gmoser said. “Consequently, in order find Slaton guilty of murder, the trier of fact would have to rely on testimony of witnesses who may have been reluctant or not fully truthful during the initial police investigation.”
Gmoser added the plea ensures Slaton is held responsible for Cornett’s death and his offensive treatment of her body.
After sentencing, David Brewer, Slaton’s attorney, said his client was taking methamphetamine at the time of Cornett’s death, adding, “It shows what someone is capable of doing when they are messed up on meth.”
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