Melbourne man accused of strangling, biting girlfriend to death

Sarah Mansfield died March 4, records show

Edward Slatter, 44 (WKMG 2020)

MELBOURNE, Fla. – A Melbourne man was arrested Friday on manslaughter charges following a four-month investigation into his girlfriend’s death.

Melbourne police detectives obtained an arrested warrant for Edward Slatter, 44, on Friday after determining he strangled 25-year-old Sarah Mansfield to death on March 4, according to the warrant.

Police and medical crews responded to a home on Juanita Circle in Melbourne on March 4 after Slatter asked neighbors to call 911 when Mansfield became unresponsive. In the 911 call, the neighbor said Slatter told her Mansfield “had passed out” and when asked if she was still breathing Slatter said, “yes.”

When medical arrived, the 25-year-old was unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the home, police said.

At the time of her death, emergency medical services believed they were responding to an overdose, the report shows. However, the victim was found with multiple bruises, a black eye, defensive wounds and her clothing was torn, according to the warrant.

Slatter told detectives Mansfield “fell” and “passed out” after the pair took MDMA together. Investigators later determined Slatter’s account did not match her injuries or cause of death.

On May 14, the Medical Examiner’s Office determined Mansfield died of manual strangulation. She had multiple blunt force injuries, including bite wounds on her neck, according to the autopsy report.

The victim’s mother told investigators she was not surprised when she learned her daughter’s death was a homicide. She said she “knew from the beginning” after her daughter’s death and believed Slatter was responsible, the report shows.

Mansfield’s mother told detectives Slatter was physically abusive prior to her daughter’s death. Mansfield had made plans to move out of Florida to get out of the relationship, according to her mother. That move was set to happen a week after her death, according to the report.

Melbourne police previously arrested Slatter on Jan. 24 for domestic battery on Mansfield. During that incident, the victim suffered a broken nose. Following the January arrest, Slatter was served a no-contact order with Mansfield that was active when she died.

Multiple witnesses told detectives they recalled Slatter beating Mansfield and leaving her with black eyes.

One witness said Slatter was a boxer and told detectives they saw him beat the victim during a prior incident.

Records show Slatter was booked into the Brevard County Jail Friday on one count of first-degree murder. A judge ordered him held without bail. His next court date is scheduled for July 28.

According to the arrest warrant, Slater’s driver’s license shows his name is spelled Slater but according to his birth certificate it is spelled Slatter.