(Chillicothe/Cleveland) - An attorney for the condemned killer found hanged in his Ohio death row cell says the defense is shocked and saddened and had hoped to stop his Wednesday execution.

Attorney Vicki Werneke tells The Associated Press in an email that the defense had no warning that 44-year-old Billy Slagle might commit suicide.

Slagle was found in his cell about 5 a.m. Sunday at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution and was declared dead within the hour.

Prison spokeswoman JoEllen Smith says he was alone and no other inmates are suspected of involvement. The coroner plans an autopsy Monday.

Slagle was sentenced in 1988 to die for the Cleveland stabbing death of Mari Anne Pope. She was killed while Lauretta Keeton's two young children she was watching were in the house.

Keeton says the crime was so traumatic, her son that he took his own life in 2002. Keeton says justice was served with Slagle's prison suicide.

But Clinton Avenue resident Clarence Alberty says Slagle's suicide deprived Pope's loved ones from getting justice.

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