Monday, September 29, 2008

Knox County Judge Grants Continuance In Sheley Case

Today (Friday September, 26) on my way to the Knox County courthouse in Galesburg, Illinois I noticed that even though it feels like a warm summer day you can see the changes of Autumn starting to take place. IMO there is no place more beautiful during the Fall than the Midwest. Driving the short distance (4miles) from my house to Galesburg there are fields of corn standing tall ready to be harvested and soy bean crops that look like a carpet of lemon-colored coins rolling across the land. Yes folks, this is serious "amber waves of grain" stuff. I'll admit it, I feel a little patriotic about now. LOL

This is my second trip this week to a hearing for Nicholas T. Sheley, a 29 year old Sterling, Il man accused in the deaths of eight people in a two-state killing spree in late June.

photo of Ronald Randall

In Galesburg, he is charged in the death of Ronald Randall, age 65 of Galesburg. It is alleged that Sheley kidnapped Randall from a car wash, robbed him, bludgeoned him to death and dumped his body behind a grocery-store near a dumpster before stealing his 2007 Chevy pick-up.

There are 7 more victims whose story will be told in a court of law and this blog later on, but for now I want to focus on this case. Sometimes it seems as if victims get lost in the legal shuffle.

I can tell you that "shots of light" of who Ronald Randall was are already starting to "shine" through. His family is in court every hearing and they are usually the first ones there. You can tell he was a good brother and Dad and they are in court for him.

After today's hearing WQAD reporter Chris Minor interviewed 2 men who said they were long time friends of Ronald. They had all worked at the Maytag factory in Galesburg for many years. The men said that Randall had worked well over 30 years at Maytag and had worked until the last day the plant operated (factory moved to Mexico #%*#). You could really sense the pride and love that they felt for Ronald as they spoke.

One last patriotic word before I go into the details of the hearing. As Americans we all have the same constitutional right to a fair trial. Whether he deserves it or not (depends who you ask) Nicholas Sheley will have a fair trial. At hearings on September 11, 19 and 24 and in recent interviews Sheley has requested a speedy trial and expressed his unhappiness with his defense counsel. The judge has heard him loud and clear but until Sheley has been proven fit to stand trial and wave his right to counsel, he will just have to wait like the rest of us. Part of this
hearing today is to determine which side will be charged with the delay.

The hearing today is supposed to start at 10 a.m.. I arrive at the courthouse about 9:30. The Sheriff's deputy at the door is a guy I have known for a long time. We say our good mornings and I head straight up to the courtroom. If court starts early and you're late, too bad, you don't get in.

When I come in the courtroom, as usual, Ronald Randall's family is seated in the front row and are the first ones here. I take my usual seat in the second row behind them. We say our good mornings and shortly after people file into the courtroom.

The first two rows on the defense side is reserved for the press. At the last couple hearings there has only been a few press attending, but today I think they will fill their rows. The back row looks like some off-duty court employees. Two older men come in and sit in my row. I have seen these guys at another hearing. (These are the friends of Ronald's who I mentioned earlier.) It's pretty close to 10 a.m. and Sheriff David Clague is here (that means Sheley is in the building).

The prosecution and defense are in and out but it is 10:40 before Sheley is brought into the courtroom. As usual, he is fully shackled and in jailhouse orange, but today it looks like he has a fresh haircut. Sheley takes a good look around the courtroom but doesn't acknowledge anyone before he sits down. Public Defender James Harrell leans in to say something to Sheley and Sheley starts scooting his chair around. Sheley had a little smile on his face so I don't know what to make of this especially when shortly after the gaurds took Sheley back out of the courtroom. I read a local news report that Sheley asked to be returned to the holding cell. Perhaps that smile was an attempt to control his temper?

At 10:45 Ninth Circuit Judge James Stewart takes the bench and calls a sidebar right off. Sheley is brought back in and the hearing gets under way. Judge Stewart says there were several issues to be dealt with today. First is the question of fitness. Stewart asked the defense and the state to work together to choose an expert who will conduct Sheley's fitness hearing. If the parties can't come to an agreement by Wednesday, the court will appoint an expert. Once the expert is decided, she or he will have 30 days to conduct the hearing. This delay will not be charged to either side.
The next issue is defense motions. Jeremy Karlin entered a motion for the defense to extend discovery. Karlin also requested a conference ex-parte with the judge per Supreme Court rule and he mentioned something about case law. I missed a little of what he said because I was focusing on Sheley. I wanted to see if I could gauge his response to the latest defense motions....I guess his leaving the courtroom earlier says it all. Sheley objects to the motions and the court acknowledges that but says until the fitness hearing is complete the record is bound by the defense counsel.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Atterberry asked that the record reflect the defense requested the extension.

The last issue is DNA testing. Karlin told the court the prosecution and defense agree that the experts for both sides will work between themselves to schedule the work that needs to be done. Atterberry said the state was notified that an additional piece of evidence may be consumed by DNA testing and will submit a supplemented order to include that evidence.

States Attorney John Pepmeyer says the next formal hearing will be October 31. Atterberry asks the judge if they should set a hearing date for the DNA and the Judge Stewart says to just wait and they will come up with a date when the testing is done.

Judge Stewart tells the court the rest of the hearing will be ex parte. He goes on to explain that although most court dealings are best kept open and transparent the Supreme Court has authorized these ex parte conferences to be conducted out of the presence of the public and the prosecution because the defense may present theories of defense. With that everyone from the press, the public and the state were asked to leave.

I sat outside of the courtroom with some of the press for a couple minutes (just in case something came up) until a deputy asked us to move to a hallway away from the courtroom. While standing in the hall (holding up the wall) one of the reporters said he wanted to stay and see if any of the case law that was mentioned was expounded upon, perhaps in relation to some new evidence? I would have liked to stay longer but had to be somewhere. I will try and attend any future hearings and keep you posted.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Judge Issues A Gag Order in Sheley Case

A little birdy called to let me know that a hearing had been scheduled for accused spree killer, Nicholas Sheley at 2:30 today (Wednesday). Thank you little birdy, I really appreciate the call.

When I arrived at the courthouse, I was informed that the hearing had been moved up to 3:00, then 3:15. I go over some of my notes while waiting....during the arraignment on August 6, Ninth Circuit Judge James Stewart admonished the attorneys for both sides regarding the rules of judicial conduct forbidding counsel from making statements about the case.....he didn't address Sheley that day so that will probably happen today. Everyone is here from both sides but they are in a room off of the courtroom. Must be one of those "secret" meetings that Sheley complained about in his interview. Whatever.

Everyone took their places and Nicholas Sheley was brought in. He looked pretty much the same as he had last hearing, his hair was a little longer and whatever he put on it to make it spike up makes it look darker. Do they allow gel in jail? It was actually 3:45 before the hearing got started.

Judge James Stewart calls court to order and Public Defender James Harrell addresses the court. He says there are some housekeeping that needs done. First, Harrell would like the court to make an official finding that He and Jeremy Karlin are the counsel of record, the issue had been raised but not put on record at the last hearing. Judge Stewart says something like Oh,... you actually want me to say it? Then he says they are counsel of record until a fitness hearing is completed. LOL This judge has a wry sense of humor it appears, at times it's just the way he says something, not what he says. Nothing inappropriate so far...LOL I like that in a judge.

The defense has filed an emergency motion seeking to stop pre-trial publicity. In light of Sheley's interviews this emergency motion hearing was called.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Atterberry addressed the court. He said, " Both parties want to maintain fairness and integrity of the proceedings." He added that Sheley giving interviews in the past 24 hours has threatened the proceedings. Judge Stewart asked, "Is this a stipulation between prosecution and defense?" and "Is there a time frame?" Atterberry says through the trial.

Judge Stewart told the court he would approve the stipulation until the fitness evaluation is done. The defense are duly authorized and once Sheley is determined to be fit the stipulation will be revisited. He went on to say that Mr. Sheley has a constitutional right to speak. The judge called the current situation a " no mans land". The issue is a clash of constitutional rights. Sheley is entitled to a speedy trial. There is freedom of the press, a right to counsel, a right to a fair trial, a right to remain silent or to wave that right. Stewart also said, "It is the courts duty to determine which right was most burdened at the expense of others."

Judge Stewart also commented that there is no guidance from the Supreme Court on this issue and reiterated that the order will remain in effect until a fitness hearing is conducted. If Sheley is found to be competent to stand trial the order will be lifted and Sheley will be able to make statements to anyone he wishes. Stewart said, " He has a constitutional right to free speech."

Harrell says that since the court is entering an order he will withdraw the emergency motion from the court file . Judge Stewart recognizes this is all done. Micheal Atterberry requests that court admonish the defendant regarding the order. Stewart then tells Sheley that he is issuing a gag order that prohibits communication with the media from all parties and instructs Sheriff David Clague that Sheley should have no visitors without the presence of counsel. Clague agrees.

The next hearing scheduled is for Friday, September 26, at 10a.m.

Sheley is facing 17 counts in connection with the bludgeoning death of Ronald Randall,65, of Galesburg. If convicted he will face the death penalty. He is also charged with the deaths of 5 people in Whiteside County, IL and the deaths of an Arkansas couple killed while visiting in Missouri.

Galesburg Register-Mail

WQAD Sphere: Related Content

Sheley gives phone interview to WQAD in the Quad Cities

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, after his jailhouse interview with the Associated Press, Nicholas Sheley took it upon himself to do an "on the phone" interview with Chris Minor from WQAD. You can hear two versions of the interview here.

Once again Sheley seems to be giving out mixed signals, in these interviews he has said that he doesn't want just an adequate defense, he wants the best defense. Granted that is what we would all want if in his shoes (ain't gonna happen!), but after that he wants to defend himself???? Does he have delusions of grandeur or does he really think he can do a better job than two trained attorneys who have under gone special training to defend capital cases? We will see.....Sheley's Public Defenders James Harrell and Jeremy Karlin filed a motion for an emergency hearing on Wednesday, I attended and will blog about that next. Sorry this is slow getting put up, everyday life got in the way and then I had no Internet connection all yesterday!
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nicholas Sheley Gives Jailhouse Interview

Nicholas Sheley discusses his case with an Associated Press reporter on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008 at the Knox County Law Enforcement Center in Galesburg. Sheley was charged with killing eight people during a two-state killing spree in June.

I am curious to hear what some of you fellow crime watchers have to say about this guy and his case.
My own opinion is that he may be making the case for his attorneys who are questioning his competency to wave his right to counsel.
Sheley is very familiar with the legal system, do you think he just trying to manipulate the system? The state says they are ready to go to trial so I don't see how a speedy trial is to the
state's disadvantage.

Below is the story as it appeared in the Galesburg Register-Mail.

Sheley says he aided own capture

The Associated Press

Nicholas Sheley feels like he's losing control. All the words from fast-talking lawyers, the meetings he says are going on behind his back, are keeping him from the one thing he's wanted since police said they suspected him of killing eight people during a two-state June rampage: To go to trial quickly.

So Sheley called a reporter and summoned him to the Knox County Jail. Later Tuesday he sat down behind a glass partition, clad in an orange jumpsuit, with organized, handwritten notes that contained his legal strategy.

Sheley told The Associated Press that he decided to speak because he wants a speedy trial and he feels that won't happen.
"Because to me it has its advantages and to the state it has its disadvantages, which I'll keep to myself," he said.
Sheley was cryptic and would not say why he wants a quick trial. He would not even say the words "innocent" or "guilty" or whether he knew any of the victims — only that he hasn't even talked to his own attorneys about his alleged crimes.

The closest Sheley came to talking about the case was that he played an active role in his capture July 1 outside a Granite City bar because he wanted to get the ball rolling on the legal process and his family feared he'd be killed if a manhunt continued.
Sheley, who was arrested as he smoked a cigarette outside the bar, said he knew he was the subject of a manhunt because he'd seen newspaper accounts of the case and had talked to his family.
"I played a part in my capture," Sheley said. "Not only that but it was also concerns for my family. They were stressed out and worried and concerned over the fact that the police might want to kill me."

Sheley's charged with bludgeoning to death six people in Illinois and two people in Missouri. Knox County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in one slaying.
He criticized his public defenders, saying he hasn't told them anything about the case.

"The lawyers keep making reference to an appeal process. So basically, they're probably already under the impression that I'm guilty, without even having it gone to a trial yet," he said. "Which leads me to believe they probably already believe there's guilt on my behalf but I've never discussed any facts or anything with regards to this case whatsoever."

Sheley said he does not feel he will get a fair trial.
"Not necessarily set up, but railroaded," he said.
"My belief in the system, like I said, it's crooked," Sheley said. "The public defender is appointed by a judge who works for the state of Illinois. The public defender is getting paid by the state."

Jim Harrell, one of Sheley's attorneys, said Tuesday that the defense agreed in court Friday to file a motion requesting Sheley undergo a psychiatric examination. That motion hasn't yet been filed, but would be soon, he said.
"I can't comment on the reasoning behind the motion," Harrell said. "I am bound by attorney-client privilege. I'm bound from discussing conversations that are held individually or with the other co-counsel with Mr. Sheley." Sheley said he thinks the motion is an effort to delay his case. "You might say finding me fit is best ... but they just use this to buy more time," he said.

Sheley is charged in the deaths of Kenneth Ulve, 25, Brock Branson, 29, Branson's fiancee, Kilynna Blake, 20, and her 2-year-old son, Dayan Blake. They were found in a Rock Falls apartment June 30. The town is in Whiteside County community in northwestern Illinois.
Sheley also is charged in the June deaths of a 93-year-old Russell Reed of Sterling, 65-year-old Ronald Randall of Galesburg, and Tom and Jill Estes, an Arkansas couple who were killed in Missouri.

Prosecutors in Knox County are seeking the death penalty in Randall's slaying.
Sheley wouldn't discuss any of the victims in the case or why he feels he's being railroaded.
"This is my case," Sheley said. "The way I want to go about it is my only concern. I don't want an adequate defense. I want above and beyond the best defense."

But he said he was staying upbeat while in jail.
"I'm good, other than my frustrations with the way my case is being handled. I'm staying positive. I put my faith in the Lord," Sheley said.
Associated Press Writer Caryn Rousseau in Chicago contributed to this report.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

How much do you want to see Phil Spectors re-trial televised?

Recently it has become clear that none of the media outlets are planning on covering the re-trial of Phil Spector that is rapidly approaching. They consider a re-trial as old news. In some cases that may be true, but anyone who watched the first trial knows that there is no way they can duplicate that trial.

Surely this defense will take a much different approach this time around, after all, last trial was 10 guilty and only 2 not guilty . Frankly the setting is still L.A. and the defendant is still Phil Spector so who knows what we can expect from this new trial.

Sprocket and Donchais over at Trials and Tribulations have been working on some ways to get this trial televised.

They have come up with 2 things that we can do immediately to get our voices heard:

1. They have a link to a petition that will be forwarded to the appropriate outlets for consideration.

2. It is possible a production company would provide coverage on a pay-per-view basis.

While at T&T to sign the petition you can get more information about the possible pay-per-view option. T&T is asking for your comments on their blog about this option. This is strictly limited to the Spector trial. Leave a message there so they can gauge what kind of interest there is! They very well may be able to get this done, but your quick response will dictate what happens. They have a source!
I personally would be willing to pay just to see Alan Jackson do his thing again ! LOL Sphere: Related Content

Friday, September 19, 2008

Judge Orders Mental Fitness Hearing for Sheley

Today was another hearing at the Knox County Courthouse for Nicholas Sheley, 29, a Sterling, Illinois man accused of a two-state killing spree that left eight dead.

Sheley faces a 17 count indictment in Knox County for kidnapping, killing, and robbing 65 year old Ronald Randall of Galesburg, and stealing Randall's 2007 Chevy pickup. If convicted Sheley will face the death penalty.

I got to the courthouse early to be sure I could get a seat in the courtroom. The only spectators in the courtroom are three women sitting in the front row. I sit right behind them in the second row. (same seat I had last hearing). We spoke a bit before the hearing and I learned they are the victim's, Ronald Randall, sisters. This was an exceptionally brutal crime perpetrated against their brother; however, they seemed very composed and I could sense their resolve in seeing that justice is served.

When I told them I was blogging about the case, I think they were a little surprised that there are people from all over that are following this case. They seemed interested and got my name and blog address. I also directed them to a few other blogs where I had seen coverage. A few moments later Ronald's daughter came in with a friend, followed by Shirley Pringle, a victims rights advocate. I'm really glad to see this family has a strong support system. I asked if they were being kept up to date by the prosecution and they said yes, they are.

I really don't want to impose on the family so I try to just sit and watch who is coming in the courtroom. It looks like the hearing won't start early this time, it's 1:15 before most people start coming in and sitting. Two men in suits come in. I don't recognize them but one of them stops to say hello to Ronald's family and the other sat somewhere behind me. After the first man moved on, one of the sisters told me he was Whiteside County State's Attorney, Gary Spencer.

I had read in the local paper that Spencer was at the September 11 hearing as well ( I missed that hearing). Evidently, as the prosecutor in Sheley's regular stomping grounds, he and Sheley are quite familiar with each other. It was reported in the Galesburg Register-Mail that at the end of the hearing, Spencer caught Sheley’s eye on his way out of the courtroom. “Mr. Spencer, it’s a pleasure to see you,” Sheley said.“I wish I could say the same,” Spencer replied. LOL, yep I'd say they have a history.

After Sheley's case is resolved in Knox County, Spencer will have the next crack at prosecuting Sheley. In Whiteside County, Sheley faces an indictment with 5 counts of first-degree murder in the death of a 93 year old man from Sterling and another 15 counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 4 people found bludgeoned to death in a Rock Falls apartment, including a 2 year old boy. I haven't heard how these cases will be handled, whether 1 trial or 2 since there were 2 separate incidents. The 15 count indictment includes aggravating factors in three of the counts that will make Sheley eligible for the death penalty in Whiteside County too. The state has 120 days from September 18 to decide if they will seek the death penalty.

Over the next few minutes the courtroom fills up and Sheley is brought in. As usual he is fully shackled and sporting that jailhouse orange. He's clutching an expansion folder in his arms as the deputies lead him to a seat at the defense table. He looks very tired today. IMO, if indeed he is guilty of the brutal crimes he is accused of, he doesn't deserve a good nights sleep ever again.

Ninth Circuit Judge James Stewart enters the courtroom and the hearing begins. This hearing was scheduled to hear Nicholas Sheley's concern about the effectiveness of his counsel. Stewart asks Sheley if he has made a decision about his representation. Sheley replied," At this time I would like to represent myself or have other counsel appointed." Stewart told Sheley that is two options and he has to decide one way or the other. Sheley said," At this time I will defend myself."

Defense co-counsel Jeremy Karlin tells the court they have doubt of Sheley's fitness to stand trial, his competency to knowingly wave his right to counsel and represent himself. Judge Stewart says Sheley must undergo a fitness hearing to determine whether or not he is fit to stand trial and can knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently wave his right to counsel and represent himself.

The judge then asks the prosecution for a response and Knox County State's Attorney John Pepmeyer told him, "The prosecution has no position on the motion." Stewart responds, "thanks" in a manner that made for a rare light moment in the courtroom.

Sheley speaks up again and says he has the written motion the court had requested at the last hearing describing how he wants to proceed. Sheley also said he made copies for the attorneys.

Karlin objects to the court accepting the motions before Sheley's fitness is determined. Karlin says, '' We have a bonafide concern about his fitness to stand trial and his competency to represent himself. Either we are his attorneys, or we're not''.

Public Defender James Harrell requests that Sheley's motion be sealed until fitness is determined. Stewart grants that request and then addresses Sheley, he says that concern has been raised about his competency and that the defense attorneys have an obligation to the state as well as the defendant. The Illinois Supreme Court has guidelines and the work being done by the attorneys will be subject to review. Stewart also told Sheley if he is found to be fit to stand trial, he will ask the Chief Judge to appoint a different judge to decide the competency of the defense.

Pepmeyer requests they tie up some loose ends. He says on September 12, the people filed their answer to discovery. They were in compliance with the discovery order and everything was included except the DNA testing.

Harrell says the defense hasn't had the opportunity to go through all of the discovery volumes.
The judge asks the defense about the DNA expert they plan to hire and Karlin said that they do have an order that identifies their expert. Someone on the prosecution side commented that the expert the defense mentioned before wasn't available soon enough.

Things got a little confusing here because Sheley tried to interrupt and address the court. Judge Stewart told him that he would not be allowed to address the court until after a fitness hearing.
After being silenced by the judge Sheley became visibly upset, his face turned red and he scooted his chair around so that his back was to the judge and his attorneys. The sound of Sheley trying to scoot his wood chair on the floor while fully shackled and rustling the papers he held brought all attention to him. He closed his eyes for a bit and eventually turned himself back around. For the remainder of the hearing he took some notes and rustled papers occasionally but otherwise stayed quiet.

Pepmeyer tells the court he would like to have a firm date for the DNA testing so that the trial can go ahead. Harrell responds it's a moot point because fitness needs to be determined first.
Pepmeyer shoots back that the DNA testing should occur regardless of fitness.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Atterberry enters a motion to attribute the delay to the defense. The defense moves that the count of the delay shouldn't start until September 3.

My notes show the issue of protocal for appointing a fitness expert was raised. I didn't note who brought it up but it is agreed there are three issues to be determined:
1. fitness for trial
2.competency of counsel
3. competency to represent himself.

Pepmeyer moves to vacate the hearing scheduled for September 24. The next hearing will be September 26 at 10 a.m.. The hearing was over.
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Nicholas Sheley charged in 4 more deaths.

Nicholas Sheley has now been charged in all 8 deaths connected to an alleged two-state killing spree in late June.

According to the Illinois Attorney Generals office, a grand jury has indicted Sheley in the deaths of four people found in a Rock Falls, Illinois apartment on June 30, 2008.

The indictment consists of 15 counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Kilynna Blake, 20, of Cedar City, Utah - her son Dayan Blake, 2, of Cedar City, Utah - her fiancé Brock Branson, 29, of Rock Falls - and Kenneth Ulve Jr., 25, of Rock Falls. They all died of multiple blunt force trauma to the head. Three of the 15 counts allege that one of the victims was younger than 12 years and his death resulted from exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty. Spencer has 120 days after arraignment to decide whether to seek the death penalty. Bond in Whiteside County has been set at $100,000,000.

Sheley previously had been charged with four other killings.

Sheley is facing 17 charges in Knox County in the beating death of 65-year-old Ronald Randall and faces the death penalty if convicted.

He also is charged in Whiteside County with five counts of first-degree murder in the death of Russell Reed, 93, of Sterling and faces murder charges in Missouri in the deaths of Jill and Tom Estes of Sherwood, Ark.

After telling the court at a Sept. 11 hearing that he was dissatisfied with current defense attorney’s Jim Harrell and Jeremy Karlin, Ninth Circuit Judge James Stewart told Sheley to write a motion specifically detailing the issues he has with his attorneys and whether he wishes to represent himself.
As of noon Thursday, that motion had not been received in the Knox County Circuit Clerk’s office. A hearing in anticipation of that motion and a matter of what side the delay will be attributed to is scheduled for today. I will be attending this hearing and will let you know what happens.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Will Nicholas Sheley represent himself in Knox County Case?

Accused spree-killer Nicholas Sheley told Ninth Circuit Judge James Stewart he is unhappy with his lawyers during a hearing in Knox County, IL. on Thursday.

Reading from a prepared written statement, Sheley told the court he was concerned about how his case was being handled. “I am not looking for advice or sympathy,” he said. “I have questions in regards to the law and my understanding my rights.”

Sheley said he has been “blown off” by his public defender Jim Harrell and co-counsel Jeremy Karlin. He accused his attorneys of “fast lawyer talk” and said he wants his lawyers to adhere to his request for a speedy trial and not their own wishes. “My lawyers will do anything to continue this. It is their choice not mine."

Sheley asked the court for guidance in three matters: do his attorneys have the legal right to do what they want in this case or does he have a say in decisions; is he allowed his own copies of discovery documents; and should delays such as a fitness hearing be allowed if it interferes with his speedy trial demand.

Sheley argued a fitness hearing was unnecessary. “I am fit. I have knowledge of the charges and consequences. I feel my social abilities are above more than normal,” he said.

Judge Stewart told Sheley he has the right to make decisions on pleas and plea agreements but legal decisions are made by the lawyers. He told Sheley his only options are to hire a private attorney certified by the Capital Litigation Trial Board or represent himself.
Stewart requested Sheley draft a hand-written motion describing how he wants to proceed.
After the court receives the motion, Stewart will schedule a hearing.

This hearing had been scheduled as a status hearing about the defense team's hiring of a DNA expert. The issue of hiring a DNA expert was not decided. Karlin said the defense has found a DNA expert they intend to hire but he isn't available until October 20. The state said the DNA testing has been scheduled and they are ready to proceed.

The state also turned over more discovery documents to the defense on Thursday. There are now over 4,300 paper documents in this case. Knox County State's Attorney John Pepmeyer said another 1,000 pages of documents are in the process of being copied.

When asked after the hearing if he planned to represent himself, Sheley said people would “have to wait and see.”

Sheley faces 17 charges in connection with the bludgeoning death 65-year-old Ronald Randall of Galesburg and faces the death penalty if convicted.

He also is charged with the murders of a Whiteside County man and a husband and wife in Missouri.

Sheley is suspected of killing four people in a Rock Falls apartment but has not been charged in that crime.

I really don't know what to make of all this. I don't for a minute think that Sheley isn't aware of his rights. He is quite familiar with the legal system. Of course he is entitled to a speedy trial and if that is what he wants, that is what he should get. However; it's doubtful that he can afford his own lawyer so he has a big choice to make. I haven't heard of any response from his lawyers. I'll let you know if I do.


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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Phil Spector famous or notorious?

I love it! Phil Spector is a stop on a bizarre true crime and cultural history tour in L.A.! Right where he belongs! This is a bulletin posted on MySpace by True Crime Blogs. Made my day!

True Crime Blogs
LA 9/13- Blood & Dumplings Crime Bus Tour

WHAT: Esotouric's Blood & Dumplings Crime Bus Tour

WHEN: Saturday September 13 2008, 12pm-4pm (repeats 11/29 in a special Thanksgiving edition as part of the Noir November series)

WHERE: Tour departs from Philippe the Original, 1001 N.Alameda Street
COST: $63, including dumplings (vegetarian options available on request)INFO: or call 323-223-2767
LOS ANGELES- On Saturday, September 13 (repeating 11/29), offbeat bus tour company Esotouric presents its most bizarre true crime and cultural history tour, BLOOD & DUMPLINGS.
Starting from the premise that the secret heart of Southern California's weirdo culture beats strongest in the Eastern San Gabriel Valley, the tour introduces passengers to such fascinating local characters as the Man from Mars Bandit, record producer Phil Spector, lion tamers Charles and Muriel Gay, and indie filmmaking icon Timothy Carey, whose notorious "The World's Greatest Sinner" was shot on location in 1960s El Monte.
Heading due East out of downtown, the tour explores several historic communities that reflect the growth and eccentricity that are hallmarks of 20th century L.A. Crime Bus passengers will be explore notorious, strange and fascinating forgotten tales from the past hundred years, each told at the scene of the crime. They'll thrill to the freakish case of the Man from Mars Bandit who stalked area supermarkets for months in 1951 before meeting his match in a police sharpshooter, shock to discover the deadly infighting among El Monte's American Nazi Party members, mourn the Case of the Buried Bride dragged beneath her home on her wedding day by her secret lover, gnash teeth at the weird lion farm (home to every MGM lion) that served lion meat barbecues on special occasions, and view scenes of notorious cases including Phil Spector's spooky hilltop castle and James Ellroy's slain mother Geneva (the true-life inspiration for his Black Dahlia novel).
And since no visit to the San Gabriel Valley is complete without a delicious Chinese meal, the Crime Bus will stop at 101 Noodle Express (one of L.A. Weekly critic Jonathan Gold's picks for 99 L.A. restaurants not to be missed) to pick up a dumpling feast, which will be enjoyed picnic-style at Monster Park, a remarkable sea-themed folk art environment recently saved from demolition. There passengers can enjoy their snack in the mouth of a concrete whale, or under a grinning octopus, then pose for photos with the creatures.All this, plus wild shootouts, dope-dealing druggists, missing Salvador Dali paintings, the original "little girl down a well" 1940s television sensation, and a very strange story about ducks.
Don't miss the Crime Bus tour that guide Kim Cooper calls "My personal favorite of all our tours, packed with more offbeat history, horror, roadside architecture and fabulous Route 66 vistas than any other."For more info on Esotouric, visit Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Nicholas Sheley will face the death penalty in Galesburg, IL

Today Knox County States Attorney, John Pepmeyer, filed the paper work necessary to seek the death penalty in the case against accused spree-killer Nicholas Sheley. Sheley, 29, is facing 17 counts in connection with the June 28 death of Ronald Randall,65.

I wasn't able to attend today's hearing, but after reading the report in the Galesburg Register-Mail, it sounds as though it was a productive day in court. Because this is now a capital case, Sheley is entitled to two attorneys. Attorney Jeremy Karlin was appointed to assist Public Defender James Harrel in Sheley's defense. It's reported the state turned over it's discovery, consisting of 2,330 documents and 99 CDs, to the defense last Friday.
After Harrel argued for a one week delay to allow Karlin to read all the discovery, Sheley asked to address the court. Sheley told the court he doesn't want a continuance of any kind. He went so far as to say if it is necessary to fire his attorney's then so be it.
The state argued a motion for permission to go ahead with possibly consumptive DNA testing on six items. In order for Sheley's request for a speedy trial to be met, Assistant Attorney General, Michael Atterbury said the testing needs to be completed in a timely manner. Ninth Circuit Judge James Stewart ordered the defense to hire a DNA expert as soon as possible to assist and be present with the DNA testing. A hearing is scheduled for next Thursday for a status report of the hiring of a consultant.

A jury trial was tenatively scheduled for October 14. I will attend as much of the trial as possible.

Nicholas Sheley is suspected in the bludgeoning deaths of eight people in both Illinois and Missouri. He has been charged with killing Tom and Jill Estes, 54, in Festus, MO. In Whiteside County, IL a grand jury has handed down a 14 count indictment accusing Sheley of first-degree murder in the death of Russell Reed, 93. While not charged yet, Sheley is also suspected in the deaths of four more in Whiteside County, Kenneth Ulve Jr. 25, Brock Branson 29 and his pregnant fiance, Kilynna Blake 20 and her 2 year old son, Dayan Blake.

Sheley says he is ready to get this ball rolling and so am I. If he really wants to keep things going I would suggest that he NOT fire his attorneys. James Harrell and Jeremy Karlin are the only Capital Litigation Bar members in Knox County. Perhaps he should give them the week they need.This will be the first murder trial that I have attended in person. It's been reported that law enforcement thinks Sheley was only in Galesburg an hour or so....and they have almost 2500 documents and DNA! This should be interesting. Sphere: Related Content