Nicholas Troy Sheley (born July 31, 1979) is
an American ex-convict accused of eight murders across four towns in
Illinois and Missouri. He was arrested on July 1, 2008 in Granite City,
Illinois. A $25,000 reward was offered for information leading to his
arrest. Federal authorities charged him with unlawful flight to avoid
Sheley, of Rock Falls, Illinois, had been arrested
frequently since adolescence for crimes ranging from marijuana
possession to domestic battery.
The day of his arrest, Sheley was seen at a St.
Louis Cardinals game, where he asked to use a tailgater's cell phone.
Sheley also requested that the man delete the phone numbers. However,
police were able to trace the call back to a drug house in the
Kirkwood area. This, coupled with statements from witnesses, led
directly to Sheley's arrest.
To this date, he has only be charged with one
murder. He is, however, a person of interest in the deaths of a 93-year-old
man, a child, a couple, and one man with whom he was acquainted and
another man, 65-year-old Ronald Randall of Galesburg, Illinois.
Sheley pleads not guilty to five 2008 killings
September 26, 2011
MORRISON, Ill. — Accused spree killer Nicholas Sheley will fight
charges that he allegedly killed five people in Illinois' Whiteside
County in 2008.
The Quad City Times reports he pleaded not guilty
during his arraignment Monday.
Sheley, of Sterling, is accused of eight killings
during a 2008 crime spree in Illinois and Missouri. Last week, he was
found guilty in Knox County in the beating death of Ronald Randall.
Jurors deliberated for less than an hour before reaching a verdict.
Sheley is charged with killing 93-year-old Russell
Reed of Sterling, who was found in the trunk of his car; 29-year-old
Brock Branson, 25-year-old Kenneth Ulve, 20-year-old Kilynna Blake and
her 2-year-old son, Dayan, were all found in an apartment in Rock
He is also accused of two deaths in Missouri.
After fast verdict, Sheley killing spree cases
September 24, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — It took more than three years for
Nicholas Sheley to go to trial in the first of eight slayings
authorities allege he committed during a two-state crime spree.
The one part of the process that has been quick was
the verdict in the first trial: Jurors took less than an hour Monday
to convict Sheley in the June 2008 beating death of Ronald Randall.
But Sheley still faces charges in seven other deaths, and his path
through the legal system is expected to again slow to a crawl. The
last prosecutor in line says he may have to wait years.
For Lyle Reed, the frustrating wait has been as
much a part of his life as the unfading memory of finding blood on his
father's porch and in the kitchen of his Sterling, Ill., farm house
back in June 2008, days before 93-year-old Russell Reed was found dead
in his car. The murder charges against Sheley include that killing and
four others in nearby Rock Falls, Ill., for which he will be arraigned
on Monday. The other two killings were in Festus.
"As far as I'm concerned it's just a sideshow. He's
guilty as sin," Lyle Reed said, adding that he knows he'll eventually
have to go to the Whiteside County Courthouse as a witness but
otherwise wants no part of watching Sheley make his way toward trial.
"I'll have to (go), but not any more than I have to. I don't plan to
sit through it at all."
The first case involved the death of Ronald Randall.
Jurors ultimately made their decision quickly because DNA evidence
drawn from blood found in Randall's truck was a powerful persuader,
The prosecutor handling the two cases that are last
in line, Forrest Wegge of Jefferson County, said he's prepared for a
"I'm not saying I'm willing to wait, but I'm not
clamoring, either," he said. "It is what it is."
A number of factors could slow or speed up the
Whiteside County cases.
Prosecutors — both from the Whiteside County
State's Attorney's office and the Illinois attorney general's office —
will need to decide whether to try Sheley in all five deaths there at
once or try him separately in Reed's death. The others killed in the
county — 29-year-old Brock Branson, 25-year-old Kenneth Ulve, 20-year-old
Kilynna Blake and her 2-year-old son, Dayan — were found dead in a
Rock Falls apartment.
Aside from Wegge, attorneys involved in the Sheley
cases either declined to discuss them in detail or didn't return calls.
And court officials in Whiteside County said prosecutors haven't yet
filed anything that makes their intentions clear.
The search for a judge who doesn't know Sheley also
could slow things down. The court agreed in August with a request from
Sheley to remove first one judge and then a second. Sheley has an
extensive criminal record and had appeared before both, leading him to
believe neither could guarantee him a fair trial. A judge from Rock
Island County, Ill., Jeffrey W. O'Connor, will handle Monday's
arraignment, but a spokeswoman said it isn't clear yet whether he'll
handle the cases.
Another hurdle is that Sheley doesn't yet have an
attorney and, in June, indicated he would represent himself. In his
Galesburg, Ill., trial, Sheley changed his mind more than once about
whether to represent himself before finally relying on attorney Jeremy
Karlin said last week that he could represent
Sheley again but nothing has been decided. If a new attorney is chosen,
it could take months for him or her to get up to speed.
Once a trial begins, some of the evidence that
could be used against Sheley has already helped convince a jury he was
guilty of killing Randall. Prosecutors have said clothing Sheley wore
when he killed Randall was found in the Rock Falls apartment. Police
have also said they found Sheley's DNA on a cigarette butt in Reed's
kitchen. Sheley's wife has testified that Reed had previously let the
two take scrap metal from his farm to sell.
Karlin, the defense attorney, called no witnesses
in Sheley's first trial. University of Illinois law professor Steven
Beckett said a defense attorney might take a similar, not-uncommon
tactic in later trials.
"A defendant doesn't have to put on a defense,"
said Beckett, who has worked as a defense attorney in 16 murder cases.
"The defendant can simply take the position that the government does
not have enough evidence to meet a burden of proof."
When Sheley's legal path reaches Missouri, where
he's charged with killing Jill and Tom Estes of Sherwood, Ark., he
could face the death penalty. Illinois abolished the death penalty
while Sheley awaited his first trial.
Wegge hasn't decided whether to pursue that option.
But if he does, Beckett said, the outcome of the remaining cases in
Illinois could become factors in Missouri.
"The jury is being told, 'Oh, by the way, he has
seven other murder convictions' — that would have a heavy impact on a
jury in deciding whether or not he receives the death penalty,"
The Esteses were visiting Festus and it appeared
they were attacked the moment they climbed from their Corvette after
leaving a graduation party, police said. Police have said the Esteses'
bodies were loaded into the pickup Sheley stole from Randall and
In the Esteses' Arkansas hometown, Sherwood, Tom
Estes' 87-year-old mother, Mazie Estes, said waiting for any justice "is
not easy," and "there's never a day that goes by I don't think of it."
If Sheley is convicted of the Missouri killings, the long-retired
manager of a shoe department said she's clear about what should happen.
"I'm for the Bible, an eye for an eye. That's the
way it should go," she said. "I think this has taken way too long. I
hope they get on with it as soon as they can, but they don't ever do
anything the way we think."
Jury finds Sheley guilty of murder
By Jennifer Wheeler - Pjstar.com
September 20, 2011
GALESBURG — A Knox County jury found Nicholas Sheley guilty Monday of
first-degree murder in the 2008 death of Ronald Randall.
After less than an hour of deliberations, an eight-man,
four-woman jury found Sheley guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated
vehicular hijacking and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. A
sentencing hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 18.
After the verdict was read, Sheley tapped on
defense attorney Jeremy Karlin’s arm, shook his hand and thanked him.
He showed no emotion while the verdict was being read.
The verdict came after seven days of statements and
testimony and eight days of jury selection. The defense did not call
any witnesses nor did Sheley take the stand.
During closing arguments prosecuting attorney Mike
Atterberry said Sheley was on the run from the law and needed two
things: new transportation that would not be reported missing quickly
“He had needs and he was hell-bent on satisfying
those needs no matter what. And Ronald was in the wrong place at the
wrong time,” Atterberry said.
Atterberry asked the jurors to think about Sheley
driving around in the victim’s truck with blood dripping from the cab.
He said Randall was killed with a dangerous weapon that left traces of
liquid blood in his truck days after he died.
Atterberry asked the jurors to consider why Sheley
circled around a business’s parking lot when his current vehicle was
on empty, why Sheley walked into the Hy-Vee gas station with blood on
his face and why Sheley was seen wearing the victim’s flannel shirt.
He said those facts are not “coincidences” but rather a trail of
evidence explaining what occurred the night of the murder.
“The defendant needs to fear the facts because it’s
the facts that are telling of this case,” Atterberry said. “… Who
would drive around in a truck that smelled like blood for days? Only a
Karlin closed by saying the state did not provide
conclusive evidence that proved his client guilty.
He said the DNA and fingerprints were not
necessarily accurate, especially because witnesses could not name a
single study that showed that everyone has unique physical traits. He
said the prosecution did not focus on the science behind these
procedures or how often their results are accurate.
“If they can’t tell you how often they get it wrong,
they can’t tell you how often they get it right,” Karlin said.
Karlin also discussed whether the prosecution
influenced witnesses in identifying Sheley. He said witnesses were
able to identify Sheley simply because he was the man sitting at the
defense table. Additionally, the witness who identified Sheley at Hy-Vee
was provided a single photo by police of Sheley.
He also questioned Holly Sheley’s testimony since
she received immunity for testifying. He inquired why she came forward
a year after the incident when a newspaper article said her DNA was
found in Randall’s truck.
Karlin ended closing arguments by asking the jury
to look past what the community and media reports say about Sheley;
they needed to base their decision on the evidence, which did not
prove his client guilty.
Prosecuting attorney Bill Elward responded by
touching on Sheley’s behavior after he killed Randall.
“He beat a man to death and went inside a store and
bought beer,” Elward said.
He then showed the jury an enlarged photo of Sheley
sitting on a bench in St. Louis with his arms extended and smoking a
Elward concluded by telling the jury to consider
three receipts: the $3 receipt from Mobil Mart to buy gas, the receipt
from the Hy-Vee gas station where he bought beer and cigarettes and
the guilty verdict they should sign.
Sheley also is charged with five slayings in
Whiteside County and two in Festus, Mo. His arraignment in Whiteside
County is scheduled for Sept. 26. There, he faces 25 counts of first-degree
murder for the deaths of Russell Reed, Brock Brandon, Kilynna Blake,
her son Dayan, and Kenneth Ulve.
Alleged Mass Murderer Begins Trial Today
Nicholas Sheley Terrorized Missouri and Illinois
By Chad Garrison - Riverfronttimes.com
August 29, 2011
For a few gripping days in the summer of 2008,
Nicholas Sheley kept Missouri and Illinois residents in a state of
fear and paranoia.
The victims began piling up on June 26, when the
body of a 93-year-old man was found in the trunk of his car in
Sheley's hometown of Sterling in northwestern Illinois. Four days
later, police found the bodies of a vacationing Arkansas couple, Jill
and Tom Estes, beaten to death behind a gas station in Festus,
That very same day -- June 30 -- produced for five
more bodies. Ronald Randall of Galesburg, Illinois, was found dead
behind a grocery store there. Then perhaps the gruesomest discovery of
all: The bodies of Brock Branson, 29, Kenneth Ulve, 25, Kilynna Blake,
20, and her son Dayan Blake, 2, were all found in an apartment in Rock
All eight people killed during the crime spree died
from blunt force trauma to the head. Police issued warnings June 30
that Nicholas Sheley -- an ex-con with a violent past and drug problem
-- was on the run and could be hiding out in metro St. Louis.
Turns out, he was.
Sheley had stepped outside a Granite City bar to
have a smoke on July 1, when the TV inside the pub aired a photo of
Sheley's mugshot in connection to the murders. Patrons exchanged
worried glances and then reached for the phone and dialed 911.
Police arrived moments later and arrested Sheley
without incident. Now, three years later, Sheley faces his first
murder trial today for the killing of 65-year-old Ronald Randall.
Sheley has pleaded not guilty to all eight murders
and has made news since his arrest for angry outbursts during court
hearings. At trial this week, Sheley will wear a stun belt that will
allow bailiffs to deliver an electric shock should he act up again in
Customers Spot Murder Suspect at Local Bar
By Jasmine Huda - Ksdk.com
July 1, 2008
Imagine sitting at a bar and the person next to you bears a striking
resemblance to the man whose picture has been plastered all over the
news, connected to a number of murders. For customers at Bindy's Bar
in Granite City, there was no imagining.
Tuesday evening, customers did a double take when a
man with blond hair and tattoos entered the establishment on Nameoki
Road. That man was 28-year-old murder suspect Nicholas Sheley.
"I was looking, because I thought, I sort of had
the image ingrained in my mind, of what this guy looked like, you
know, and more and more, I thought, 'this really is him,'" said
customer Gary Range.
Range and others had just watched the evening news
at Bindy's when Sheley entered. At least two customers called police.
Authorities believe Sheley may be connected to
eight recent murders in Missouri and Illinois.
Sheley is suspected in the murder of an elderly man
in Whiteside, Illinois; the murder of Little Rock, Arkansas, couple
Tom and Jill Estes in Festus, Missouri; the murder of Ronald Randall
in Galesburg, Illinois; and the murder of three adults and one child
in Rock Falls, Illinois, the FBI said. All eight victims were killed
by blunt force trauma to the head.
Sheley is also wanted for home invasion in Sterling,
Illinois, and on federal charges for unlawful flight to avoid
Earlier Tuesday, the Major Case Squad said up to
100 detectives were looking for Sheley.
For Samantha Butler, it was an "open mouth, insert
foot" moment at Bindy's.
"I walked into the bar, and I said, 'They're really
searching for that serial killer,"' she said. "And the bartender said,
'What does he look like?' And I said, 'Well, he's got blonde hair, and
tattoos.' And I looked over, and he kept staring at me, and looked
away and looking at his surroundings."
Sheley was arrested and taken to the Granite City
Jail Tuesday evening.
Authorities said he will be incarcerated on a $1
NewsChannel 5 spoke with a Washington, Missouri man
who police think not only talked to him, but lent Sheley his cell
The man said he and friends left the Cards-Mets
game Monday night and went outside to tailgate.
"This guy walked up and he started talking to us,"
said the witness, who asked to remain anonymous. "He then he asked to
borrow a cell phone so we gave him one."
The man made a call for 15 minutes.
"He gave the phone back and asked if we'd delete
the phone numbers, so we did," the witness said. "We got in the truck
But when the witness got home, there were four
deputies waiting for him.
"The phone call that he made was to a drug house in
the Kirkwood area," he said. "They had been watching that house, so
they traced the phone call back to the cell phone that he had used and
that's how they got my address."
Then the officers explained why they were trying to
track Sheley down.
"They said that he's killed eight people," the
witness said. "They didn't say how they knew that it was him that made
the phone call, but they asked me what he looked like and I explained
it to him and they said that I was dead on."
The witness' friend also identified Sheley, picking
his mugshot from a line-up.
Timeline According to the
Galesburg Police Department
July 1, 1:30 p.m.
Knox County Prosecutors charged Nicholas Troy
Sheley, 28, with first-degree murder, aggravated battery, aggravated
vehicular hijacking and two counts of theft in connection to the death
of Ronald Randall from Galesburg, Illinois.
July 1, 9:30 a.m.
An autopsy positively identified a body found
behind a grocery store in Galesburg as Randall. Pathology reports
listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.
June 30, 12:15 p.m.
Galesburg Police found a man's body behind a
grocery store in Galesburg.
June 30, 9:33 a.m.
The Galesburg Police Department said On-Star helped
they them find Randall's 2007 pick-up truck at Cherokee and 2nd St. in
St. Louis. Police said no one was with the vehicle when it was found.
June 30, 8:38 a.m.
Family members told Galesburg Police Department
they had not seen or spoken to Randall since Saturday. They filed a
missing persons report with the department. Neighbors told police
Randall was last seen driving a pick-up truck sometime Saturday
June 29, unknown time
Galesburg police found a stolen pick-up truck at a
car wash in Galesburg. They said it had been taken during a burglary
at a Rock Island, Illinois business.
June 26, unknown time
Illinois State Police and the Statewide Terrorism
and Intelligence Center issued a warrant bulletin for Nicholas Sheley
in connection to a home invasion. He was believed to be driving a
stolen red Jeep.