Community / News / September 22, 2011

Sheley convicted of first-degree murder

As the verdict was read for first-degree murder, Nicholas Sheley kept a calm demeanor on Monday in the Knox County Court House.

Sheley was found guilty of three counts in relation to the death of Ronald Randall, 65, in June of 2008 in Galesburg.

The first chapter of Sheley’s probable long court saga ended with a quick jury decision that took less than an hour, ending a three-week court case.

Sheley was found guilty of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, aggravated vehicular hijacking and first-degree murder.

Wearing a light blue button-down shirt and being restrained only by his feet, Sheley maintained calm through the whole verdict announcement, staying laid-back in his chair and only talking briefly to his defense lawyer, Jeremy Karlin.

The courtroom was still as the verdict was read, with no cries of joy or horror or even gasps of amazement.

Sheley was originally charged with 10 counts, but the prosecution dropped seven during the first day of the trial, according to The Register-Mail.

Karlin called no witnesses to the stand after a three-week trial, according to The Register-Mail, and the verdict came earlier than previously predicted.

The jury was able to come to a decision on all three counts during the first round of voting, according to Foreman Steven Winkler, 49, of Galesburg. For each vote Winkler verified the vote before moving on to the next count of increased seriousness.

This was verified a third time in the court room as the defense requested to poll each member of the jury after the verdict was announced.

“We didn’t have much debate,” said Winkler, “… Some individuals wanted to see some pieces of evidence before we took the vote.

“Today justice has been served in the brutal murder of Ronald Randall. My thoughts are with his family. It is my hope that today’s decision will provide them some closure as they continue to cope with this senseless murder,” Ill. Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a Monday press release.

Sheley’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2011.

In this portion of the trial, Sheley will not have a jury decide after he waived his rights. The judge will focus more on the victim than the accused, and he will also be able to bring in account of the other murders of which he is accused.

During the sentencing hearing Judge James Stewart will take in to account of the heinousness of the crimes and decide if they warrant more prison time.

Stewart was unable to comment about the case itself since the defense could still file appeals, but commended the work of each side stating that, “Both attorneys maintained impartiality throughout the trial.

Sheley is accused of seven other murders in the Midwest and will travel to Whiteside County for his Sept. 26 arraignment in connection to five of the seven, according to The Register-Mail.

John Williams

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