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|FIRST ON WGIL: Sheley Forcibly Removed From Courtroom; Motion to Fire Public Defender Denied
|POSTED 11:24am 9/15/09 A judge is denying a Sterling man's motion to represent himself at trial for allegedly assaulting employees at the Knox County Jail, a decision that created an outburst in the courtroom.
Knox County Chief Judge Stephen Mathers said during a court hearing Tuesday that he didn't take his decision lightly and there's too much vulnerability riding on the case to allow 30-year old Nicholas Sheley to represent himself.
Sheley is charged with Aggravated Battery, Aggravated Assault and Criminal Damage to Property after he allegedly took apart a metal chair and threw pieces of it at jail employees last April. Sheley filed a motion Monday in court to remove Knox County Public Defender Jim Harrell from the case and represent himself.
Mathers said the stakes are high, and if Sheley is convicted of assault, that could come into play in the capital murder case in which he's charged in the bludgeoning death of 65-year old Ronald Randall of Galesburg in June of 2008 and other homicides in Whiteside County and suburban St. Louis.
Mathers said he reviewed and took into consideration psychological reports which determined that Sheley had some memory, decision-making, and problem-solving impairments.
Sheley initially had no response when Mathers denied Sheley's motion to remove Harrell, but during a recess before other motions were taken up, Sheley said he had no doubt of what the decision would be and used an expletive to describe what he thought of a person's rights. He said the system is flawed and that he has, "no respect for authority - never has, never will."
After the judge denied the motions, Sheley was forcibly dragged out of the courtroom by authorities after he called Mathers a, "funny guy", and said the judge's rulings were "ridiculous".
Jury selection for the assault case could still begin on Monday.
(Nicholas Sheley. WGIL News File Photo.)
|09 15 09 by Newsroom
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