Saturday, August 10, 2013

Billy Slagle's Death

On August 5th, death-sentenced prisoner Billy Slagle was found dead in his cell. One of his lawyers, Vicki Werneke, is also representing George Skatzes. She wrote this piece about representing Billy.

Ben's thoughts: "Two things go through my head after reading this. First, how many different ways the State of Ohio is an uncaring, stupid and clumsly beast. Second, how little of the story the mainstream media deem worthy of telling. How anyone can still believe in either of these corrupt and terrible institutions boggles my mind and turns my stomach."


  1. Thank you for your comment on my pen pal and friend Billy. I sympathize with your views wholeheartedly.
    Kind regards from Vienna, Austria
    Heinz Leitner

  2. The State of Ohio even ignored the clemency appeal of the Council of Europe

  3. Mr Kim Kutschbach, governor's Deputy Legal Counsel, adviser on clemency
    Dear Sir,
    Please forward my email to Gov. Kasich. Thank you.
    Heinz Leitner

    Vienna, August 4th, 2014
    Dear Governor,
    My friend, Native American Billy Slagle on Death Row in Ohio put an end to his tortured life on August 4th, 2013, three days before his scheduled execution on August 7th, 2013 — and 36 hours after prosecutors discovered shocking new information that might have saved him (reference: The Shakespearean Death of Billy Slagle, published at The Atlantic on Sept. 24th, 2013 - In memory of my friend’s death I feel free to enclose a Rückert lied of your country man Thomas Hampson: "Um Mitternacht"– At Midnight - by Gustav Mahler (
    Unfortunately people could not convince you to spare my friend’s life. Billy’s death still saddens his family, friends and innumerable supporters deeply. We are positive that also persons who support the death penalty would have supported mercy to Billy Slagle if they were aware of the new information discovered by the prosecutors. This shows very plainly that a full-scale investigation of the death penalty is most urgent.
    Despite the botched death row executions in the United States, and the national debate over the constitutionality of the death penalty the death penalty states continue with the execution of death row prisoners unfortunately -among them also innocent and severely disabled persons. U.S. Sen. John McCain said he believes the Wood execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture.
    Dear Governor, I am asking you to halt all executions in Ohio through 2015, and to figure prominently among the Governors concerning a thorough investigation of the death penalty, as well as a moratorium on executions in the United States.
    Thank you very much for your fair consideration.
    In memory of the death of my friend Billy yours sincerely,
    Heinz Leitner
    Austria, Europe

    English lyrics of the Rückert poem: