Monday, August 29, 2011

Alleged Mass Murderer Begins Trial Today; Nicholas Sheley Terrorized Missouri and Illinois

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Nicholas Sheley will wear a stun belt in trial this week.
  • Nicholas Sheley will wear a stun belt in trial this week.
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, Missouri.

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 Falls, Illinois.

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 court.

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