Billy Slagle, 44, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on August 7, but lawyers for the prosecution and defense are working together to spare his life. The lawyers are scheduled to speak to the Ohio Parole Board today to try and commute Slagle's death sentence to life without parole.
Slagle was 18 when he allegedly murdered a neighbor by stabbing her 17 times with a pair of scissors. Two child witnesses heard the victim praying before she was attacked and police found a rosary near her body. Slagle confessed to the crime, but his defense team argued that because he was only 18, he should not have been sentenced to death.
"Slagle was a broken person who had a broken brain from chemical addiction, a broken childhood from abuse and neglect, and was emotionally retarded, as he was developmentally like a 12-year-old boy," Joseph Wilhelm of the Federal Public Defender's Office told the Parole Board in 2011.
"I'm neither inherently evil nor a bad person, but rather someone that has made a terrible mistake and wishes that I could take that night all back," Slagle wrote in a statement to the board.
The board denied the request for parole or overturning the conviction, and Slagle's execution was scheduled. However, now that the defense and prosecution have teamed up, his odds of having the penalty overturned are much greater.
Prosecutor Tim McGinty stated that Slagle's case did not fit the criteria he would use in a death penalty case today, which is why he is teaming up with Slagle's attorneys. Life without parole was not an option for those found guilty of murder at the time, and a jury sentenced Slagle to death instead. Since then, the laws have changed, and now lawyers for both sides are hoping to spare Slagle's life.
Ohio Governor John Kasich has not issued a statement on the latest developments in Slagle's case.