Community / News / September 17, 2008

65-year-old man murdered over summer break

While the students were away this summer, Galesburg was busy. Students living here over the summer were shocked to learn that a murder occurred here in Galesburg only a few minutes away from campus.

Nicholas T. Sheley, 29, is facing 17 charges in connection with the death of Galesburg local Ronald Randall. Sheley is accused of killing Randall, 65, at Southard’s Car Wash at 1720 E. Main sometime during the evening of June 28th, and then stealing Randall’s truck. The body was discovered behind a dumpster at Hy-Vee on Main Street. Though Randall’s body was not discovered until the 30th, the moment it was, Knox Campus Security knew about it.

“We keep in constant contact with the Galesburg Police Department,” said Director of Campus Safety John Schlaf. “The police believed that Sheley was no longer in the area, and were proven correct, so at the time there was nothing we could really do but continue to be vigilant in our patrols. Fortunately, Sheley was caught not long after the body was found, but we were aware of the situation throughout the event.”

Knox County State’s Attorney John Pepmeyer recently filed the state’s intention to seek the death penalty in Sheley’s case. The State Attorney listed seven aggravating factors in Randall’s murder and was quoted by the Register Mail as calling the murder a “cold, calculated and premeditated act.”

The indictment against Sheley includes ten counts of first degree murder, stating Randall’s death was the result of, according to the Register Mail, “exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty.”

The Register Mail also reported that the indictment includes two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking and one count of armed robbery — all Class X felonies punishable by six to 30 years in prison.

Students can take comfort in the fact that Sheley remains in the Knox County Jail on a ten million dollar bond and also by the speed with which Knox was kept appraised of the situation and the immediate increase in alertness exhibited by the officers of Knox Campus Safety.

David Nolan

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