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|Sheley Case WGIL's Top Local News Story of 2009
|2009 provided some of what could be described as the most interesting twists and turns yet in a local murder case from 2008.
The ongoing saga of accused spree killer Nicholas Sheley, accused of killing eight people in two states, including 65-year old Ronald Randall of Galesburg, got stranger in April, when he was charged with an assault on several Knox County Jail employees who tried to get him to move back into his cell from a maximum security area -- an assault for which he was convicted of in September.
Sheley was critical of Knox County Public Defender Jim Harrell throughout the trial, usually outside of the jury but in earshot of reporters. Harrell told WGIL after the verdict he still believed the jury took its work seriously.
"I think the jury took a lot of time considering what was before them," Harrell said. "That tells me they listened to all the evidence, went through it. Obviously, if a jury takes that long (four hours), a significant period of time, it's something we may wans to look about doing a motion or appeal on."
So far, no appeal has been filed.
Sheley is currently in the Pontiac Correctional Center, serving a seven year sentence handed down in October. But in the meantime, in the case where he faces 10 felony first degree murder charges along with a half-dozen other felonies, his attorneys were denied a change of venue request, despite their claims that the media, including WGIL and the Register-Mail, are barraging the public with biased coverage of the case.
Sheley at one point said he wanted to plead guilty, but later changed his mind.
Sheley will be back in court for another hearing in the case next month. A trial could finally begin sometime in late summer.
(Nicholas Sheley is led out of the Knox County Courthouse in September, 2009 after being found guilty in an assault of jail employees. WGIL News File Photo.)
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