CLEVELAND – A man condemned to death for fatally stabbing a neighbor during a Cleveland burglary was found hanged in his cell Sunday days before his Wednesday execution.

Billy Slagle, 44, was found at about 5 a.m. at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution and was declared dead within the hour, a prison spokeswoman said.

He was scheduled to be placed under pre-execution watch Sunday morning.

Slagle’s defense team was shocked and saddened at the news and had no clue he might commit suicide, attorney Vicki Werneke said.

“We were still litigating in court and had hoped that the execution would have been stopped. There was oral argument scheduled for Monday afternoon,” she told The Associated Press in an email.