An Ohio man has been charged in the gruesome killing of a 21-year-old Ohio woman, whose naked dismembered body was found in a barrel, police said. Last week, a Butler County grand jury indicted William Slaton, 35, for murder, felonious assault, four counts of tampering with evidence, involuntary manslaughter, three counts of gross abuse of a corpse and assault in the killing of Cecily Cornett, the Journal News reported.
The grisly discovery was made when officers were called to Slaton’s house on June 30 to investigate a tip from a Tennessee man, WLWT5 reported. There police, said they found a woman’s mutilated body inside a metal drum, said the news station.
When police knocked on the door and told Slaton about the complaint, he allegedly 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 told the Journal News. When officers opened the barrel, they said they found a nude woman’s body.
According to Middletown Municipal Court documents filed by prosecutors, Slaton admitted to being in the house with the victim but said that after using drugs, he woke up and found her hanging in the basement.
According to the arrest report, “Slaton stated that he then used a sharp object to cut off all the victim’s fingers. He then used a razor knife to cut off all of the victim’s tattoos on her body. He put the items in a sealed bowl and hid the fingers and skin in the basement,” WLWT5 reported.
The report said that Slaton allegedly told detectives that after Cornett died, he allowed her body to lay in the basement of the home for a few days before he placed her body into the drum and put it in the backyard.
The report stated that upon executing the search warrant, detectives discovered the plastic bowl that contained human fingers and sections of tattooed skin, reported the news outlet.
Slaton, who has been in police custody since June, is being held on $210,000 bond cash/surety. His bond was set by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth at Slaton’s arraignment last week. He has not entered a formal plea to the charges against him. His next pretrial hearing is on Nov. 5 at 9 a.m., according to Butler County Common Pleas criminal court division.
According to the Butler County Coroner’s office, the condition of Cornett's body likely made forensic testing difficult. Her cause of death is pending.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said he does not need that coroner’s ruling to move forward with the case, reported the news outlet.
"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," Gmoser said.
Since the news of Slaton’s indictment, Marilyn Cornett, Cecily’s grandmother, told Fox 19 News that she hopes her granddaughter’s alleged killer pays for what he did.
“I hate him and I’ve never hated anybody,” said Cornett, who said she raised Cecily since birth, and felt she was more like a daughter, than a granddaughter. “I just hate him. What he did to my baby, I don’t know, I hope he pays for what he did. I pray every night mostly so he can’t hurt anybody else too.”
She said since her granddaughter's alleged killing, she can no longer sleep.
“I rarely sleep; horrific, I relive what he did every day,” said Cornett, who wants people to remember the beautiful, loving and compassionate person she was.
“She cared about everybody,” she said. “She trusted everybody and that was one mistake I tried to get her not to do, and told her not everybody’s your friend.”