WAPAKONETA — Wesley Slaughter, convicted in July of arson after admitting he started a fire at a downtown Wapakoneta apartment complex that left some two dozen people homeless, appeared in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court on Friday for his sentencing hearing.
That hearing never took place.
Citing a lack of a final restitution figures that will be included as part of Slaughter’s sentence, Prosecuting Attorney Ed Pierce and Defense Attorney Gerald Siesel jointly requested that Judge Frederick Pepple continue the hearing until next month.
“Mr. Siesel and I have gone over the restitution figures and we have not been able to completely nail these down,” Pierce told the judge.
“We understand that we can’t proceed (with sentencing) until this is determined,” Siesel noted.
With several victims in the courtroom, at least two of whom had indicated a desire to speak at the hearing, Pepple rescheduled the sentencing for 2 p.m. Oct. 3.
Charged with starting the fire in the evening hours of Dec. 23 at the Koneta Hotel in downtown Wapakoneta, the 20-year-old Slaughter rescinded his previous plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and in July pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated arson, first-degree felonies, and one count of second-degree felony aggravated arson. Prosecutors recommended a prison term of 19 years.
Wapakoneta firefighters were dispatched shortly after 11 p.m. Dec. 23 to the apartment complex that housed two dozen occupants. Firefighters found smoke coming from several windows of the building and flames coming from an apartment on the front of the structure. Slaughter was arrested the following morning.
Slaughter walked on U.S. 33 near the intersection of county Road 33A at approximately 2 a.m. Dec. 24 when he was stopped by a trooper from the Ohio State Highway Patrol. As the trooper approached, Slaughter “dropped to the ground and began acting in a weird manner, which included him mentioning he was going to the gates of hell,” according to court documents. In response to questioning, Slaughter also reportedly indicated he was attempting to go to Botkins and “jump off a cliff in order to kill himself.”
Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Pierce said the four first-degree felony counts returned by the grand jury against Slaughter were filed on behalf of individuals who were placed at risk of serious physical harm due to Slaughter’s actions, including residents of the hotel and first responders.