Just Another Guy with Opinions

Mass Murderer Caught

Posted by shadmia on July 4, 2008

Nicholas T. Sheley, 28, of Sterling, Ill, an ex-convict and suspect in 8 killings across two states, was taken into custody Tuesday evening July 1 2008, outside of Bindy’s, a bar in Granite City about 10 miles north of St. Louis, Mo.  His arrest marked the end of a massive police hunt in which $25,000 was offered for information leading to his arrest. His victims ranged from a 2-year-old child to a 93-year-old man. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

The sequence of events leading to the arrest of Sheley began two weeks earlier:

  • Saturday, June 14:
  • Sheley forces his way into the home of a 90-year-old woman and robs her. A warrant is issued for his arrest.

  • Thursday, June 26:
  • The body of 93-year-old Robert Reed is found in the trunk of his car.

  • Monday, June 30:
    1. The bodies of a man and a woman (Tom and Jill Estes) are found behind a gas station in Festus, Mo.
    2. Police find the body of a man (65-year-old Ronald Randall) beside a trash bin behind a Galesburg Hy-Vee Food Store.
    3. The bodies of four people: Two men (Brock Branson, 25 and Kenneth Ulvey, 29), a woman (Kilynna Blake, 20) and a 2-year-old child (Dayan Blake) are discovered in a Rock Falls apartment building.
  • Tuesday, July 1:
    1. Authorities announce a $25,000 reward for Sheley.
    2. At about 7 p.m., Sheley is arrested after being recognized by a bartender and patron.

On the evening of July 1, Sheley walked into a bar in Granite City, ordered a glass of water and went to the bathroom. He was recognized by the bartender and a customer, Gary Range from news reports on the TV. Gary then went outside and approached a police officer who was parked in the parking lot outside the bar.

“I told (the police officer) the description and the officer said, ‘That’s him.’ He got on the radio and eventually there were police all over the place,” Range said.

Minutes later authorities took Sheley into custody while he smoked a cigarette outside the bar. Illinois State Police, the FBI, and the St. Louis Major Crimes Task Force arrested the 28-year-old Nicholas Sheley without incident. Sheley had been spotted earlier in the area. Tim Lewis, the police chief in the St. Louis suburb of Festus, Mo., said publicity from news reports paid off after 6 p.m. when a number of Granite City residents reported seeing Sheley.

“He was desperate and he gave up without a fight,” Lewis said.

Authorities said Sheley crisscrossed three states in five days and was last seen in St. Louis. He was named as a suspect in all eight killings. Investigators said the victims all appeared to have died in the same manner, blunt force trauma to the head, and that evidence linked to Sheley was recovered at each scene, but both the FBI and Illinois State Police declined to elaborate.

Public records show Sheley has multiple convictions for robbery, drugs and weapons charges, racking up seven felony cases since 1997. He also faces an upcoming trial in a 2007 home invasion, in which authorities said he entered the home of Cory Olalde and allegedly fired a gunshot at the Rock Falls man. He had previously spent three years in prison.

Sheley’s uncle, Joe Sheley, 47, of Sterling, told The Associated Press that Nicholas Sheley recently struggled with drugs. The uncle didn’t know of any connection between his nephew — a father of four by two wives — and the St. Louis area.

“He’s been in trouble many times over the years, but something like this, yeah, it’s out of character,” Joe Sheley said. “He’s got a temper like anybody else. Just doesn’t want to be messed with. Won’t back down. But to go looking for a fight, looking for trouble, no.”

Sheley’s wife, Holly, said her husband has struggled for years with substance abuse, but that he was basically a good man and a good father. She told the Daily Gazette of Sterling that Sheley was, without drugs or alcohol, “kind-hearted. He’s caring. He has respect for people. He’s a hard worker, he’s a loving dad.” She said most of all, she feared the effect this would have on their two children.

Sheley made a brief appearance before Knox County Judge William Davis to answer charges stemming from one of the eight slayings authorities think he committed in two states. He told the judge that he could not post the $1 million bail set for the five criminal charges stemming from the killing of Ronald Randall, 65, of Galesburg in Knox County. He also declined the judge’s offer to appoint a public defender. Instead, he asked for 30 days to find a private attorney. Davis set the next court hearing for July 21. More charges are expected to follow.

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