Police search house twice after woman found in barrel in Middletown

Middletown police searched the residence of William Staton twice after he allegedly mutilated a woman and put her body in a metal drum.

William Slaton, 35, was arrested June 30 after police discovered 21-year-old Cecily Cornett’s body in a barrel at his home in the 3200 block of Yankee Road. He is charged with gross abuse of a corpse, failure to report a crime or death and tampering with evidence.

MORE: Case against man who allegedly hid woman in barrel bound over to grand jury

Middletown police were called around 1 p.m to Slaton’s home to investigate a tip about a dead woman in a barrel on the property. When police knocked on the door and told Slaton about the complaint, he 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 said.

When officers opened the barrel, they found a nude woman’s body.

During an interview with detectives, Slaton admitted to being in the house with the victim and said that after using drugs, he woke up and found her hanging in the basement, according to Middletown Municipal Court documents. He told police he used a knife to cut off her fingers and tattoos, according to Detective Ken Mynhier.

Slaton said he put the pieces of her body in a sealed bowl and hid the fingers and skin in the basement, according to the complaint. He allowed the woman’s body to lay in the basement for a few days before he placed her in the drum in the backyard.

Police searched Slaton’s residence on June 30 and seized a hatchet, a book titled “Sex Crimes,” a brown leather belt, a video camera, tapes, a necklace, an extension cord, cell phones and social security cards and credit cards and a pink wallet, according to court documents.

The next day, detectives obtained a second search warrant for the house, stating they needed another look after talking with Slaton and witnesses.

In the affidavit for the search warrant, Detective Brook McDonald said Cornett’s body was found in the barrel naked, tethered and mutilated. Slaton told police the woman hung herself from a water line and was strangled with a belt.

“After speaking with witnesses, we believe William (Slaton) strangled Cecily to death and mutilated her body to prevent investigators from identifying her,” McDonald wrote in the court document.

The detective said witnesses indicated that, after Cornett’s death, the basement floor was covered with bloody plastic. The second search warrant was served on July 1 and indicates there were three photos either seized or taken.

Slaton’s case was sent to a grand jury for consideration on Wednesday after a preliminary hearing in Middletown Municipal Court. His bond is $210,000.

Slaton was convicted in 2011 of illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material or performance and four counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor. He also has a federal conviction for “conspiracy to murder (a) federal officer,” according to court documents.

The cause of death for the Preble County woman is pending, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

MORE: Court docs: Man accused of putting woman’s body in barrel when to prison for child porn conviction

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