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|Death Penalty Can Still be Sought in Sheley Murder Case
|POSTED: 12:10PM 5/29/09 A Knox County judge says he believes an accused spree killer can still be sentenced to the death penalty if convicted of one of eight murders he's suspected of committing.
29-year old Nicholas Sheley heard Friday about whether or not he could constitutionally be sentenced to the death penalty on ten felony counts of first-degree murder and seven other charges for the suspected bludgeoning death of 65-year old Ronald Randall of Galesburg.
John Hanlon, one of Sheley's defense attorneys, argued that the language used to define whether or not an individual could be sentenced to death is vague and that the Illinois Supreme Court has not spoke to the language of the law. The law, Hanlon claims, uses the word "appropriate" and that there is no defining language to what appropriate means. He also argued that death penalty statues must be narrow and clear and this is not clear.
Mike Atterbury from the Attorney General's office, representing the state, told Judge James Stewart previous cases in the state control the situation and he asked Stewart to reject the motion of the death penalty being unconstitutional in this case.
Stewart said he is bound by Illinois Supreme Court's prior decisions and denied the motion.
Other motions were presented by the defense team relating to the constitutionality of the Death Penalty as well, one of which pertains to the brutality caused to the victim and other aggravating factors that would qualify Sheley to be sentenced to death, which Stewart denied because again, he was bound by prior decisions made by the Supreme Court.
Sheley, who is currently being held in the Knox County Jail, will next be in front of a judge in July for a case management conference which will determine how they are progressing to the trial.
(Nicholas Sheley is led out of the Knox County Courthouse during a 2008 hearing. WGIL News File Photo.)
|05 29 09 by Newsroom
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