Friday, June 18, 2010

Nicholas Sheley Case, It's A Long And Winding Road to Justice

Updated at bottom- June 18
One thing I have learned from the many murder trials that I have observed is that even though there are rules of procedure set down by (both U.S. and State) Constitutions (such as the due process clause that ensures legal fairness)  and  legislators (statutory laws) there often are issues that arise that are unexpected.

In our system of justice when lawyers make their argument before a court or a situation arises that is not directly addressed in a law or the interpretation of the law is in question, the court depends on legal precedent or case law  (decisions of appeals courts and other courts which make new interpretations of the law that are derived from the application of particular areas of law to the facts of individual cases, and, therefore, can be cited as precedents) to support their argument or resolve the issue.

When the death penalty is on the table there are even more rules and exceptions to rules, but issues still arise that are unique. The capital murder case of Nicholas Sheley has had several unique issues come up in the preparation for trial. Recently there has been an issue come up that's been brought about by some action taken by the IL Department of Corrections (DOC).

Nicholas Sheley at Pontiac Correctional
Nicholas Sheley is a 30 year old Sterling, IL man, who has been charged with capital murder for the 6/28/08 bludgeoning death of Ronald Randall, 65, of Galesburg, IL. The trial is expected to start sometime between January to March 2011 . Sheley is also charged for five deaths in Whiteside County, IL and two deaths in Festus, MO. related to an alleged killing spree during the last week of June, 2008. Sheley is awaiting trial at the Pontiac Correctional Center, in Pontiac, IL after being sentenced to seven years in prison for a conviction on charges that alleged he attacked 3 correctional officers causing them injury during an incident at the Knox County Jail in April 2009. Prior to that conviction, Sheley had been held in the Knox County jail since July 2008 on a $10 million bond.

There has been two hearings related to this issue with the DOC. The first hearing was so vague that I didn't even write about it at the time. The second hearing shed a little light on the issue and I was able to find some information online, so I'll give it a try. This entry will include both hearings.

The first hearing, on May 14, about the issue raised by the DOC was short. There wasn't anyone from the prosecution for the murder case at this hearing. The IL DOC was represented by Chris Higgerson and Lea Bendik of the IL Attorney General's office. Lead attorney Jeremy Karlin, Co-counsel Anthony Vaupel ( both court appointed because Sheley is indigent ) and Nicholas Sheley were at the defense table.(escorted by 4 "big" guys from DOC)

At the beginning of the hearing, Jeremy Karlin moved to have the hearing closed. Ninth Circuit Judge James Stewart didn't feel there was authority to close the hearing and told the parties he wanted the issue briefed before he would consider closing the hearing.  Stewart said that in a criminal case there are mixed rights, the defendant has a right to a fair and public trial, but the press and public also have a  right to attend criminal trials.

Karlin told the court if the hearing isn't closed he would be forced to disclose defense theories to the public when discussing the objections the DOC has, adding that he also respectfully disagrees with expenditures previously authorized. Karlin acknowledged to the court this is a novel area due to the DOC position and reminded the judge that they were under deadlines. Judge Stewart responded any deadlines the defense is under are from this court and we are not discussing expenditure of funds. Bendik told the court the AGO agrees with the defense, but the judge reiterated he wants to be briefed.

Karlin requested that the record reflect the imposition on the defense of the DOC motions that are interfering with our attempt to__________. Oops I missed that in my notes but I think he was talking about preparing their defense and meeting deadlines. This is an area where the conversation seemed cryptic to this novice.... Stewart said something about April 1 and the Supreme Court also directs the conduct of_______(this court?) He continued that on May 11 there was a return of mandate. This is no case of controversy- will address when the matter becomes ripe. Bendik started to say something and Stewart said he rules this is not a case of controversy so the motion to unseal transcripts is moot. The case is continued to June 18.

I have been trying to find out what the issue is with the DOC, I didn't find this until after the 2nd hearing but I'll stick it in here so you will have a better idea what I'm talking about when reporting on that hearing. This is what I 've been able to find....On April 1, 2010, Judge James Stewart issued an order directing the Illinois Department of Corrections to transport defendant Nicholas T. Sheley for certain testing. The DOC filed an emergency motion  for leave to file a petition for an original writ of mandamus. (A writ of mandamus is a writ issued by a superior court ordering a public official or body or a lower court to perform a specified duty.) The motion was denied and the order was entered by the court.
(This is speculation but because of the discussion at the end of the May 14 hearing, I think what the DOC wanted was the transcripts to be unsealed from an earlier ex parte hearing to authorize expenses for the defense.)

The DOC then filed an emergency motion with the IL Supreme Court for a supervisory order. The motion was allowed. The Supreme Court wrote in it's order, " In the exercise of this Court's supervisory authority, the Circuit Court of Knox County is directed to vacate its order of April 1, 2010, directing the Illinois Department of Corrections to transport defendant Nicholas T. Sheley for certain testing. The circuit court is directed to conduct a hearing at which the Illinois Department of Corrections may be heard on the subjects of safety and expense, and may suggest alternative orders."

A week or two after the first hearing, once again, a little birdy notified me there was a hearing scheduled for June 11 at 10 am. {{Hugs}} The birdy also told me this was to hear arguments about who would pay for transporting Sheley for tests, so I'm surprised when  Assistant Attorney General Bill Elward and Knox County State's Attorney John Pepmeyer come in and take a seat at the state table. (I expected to see the 2 who had represented IL DOC at the last hearing.) At the defense table is  Lead Attorney Jeremy Karlin and Co-counsel Anthony Vaupel. John Hanlon is also here for the defense. Hanlon is from the Office of the State Appellate Defender (OSAD) in the Capital Trial Assistance Unit in the Springfield office.

We still have a little time before court so Karlin and Elward are talking a little sports across the aisle...I didn't hear who, but someone is the worst sports franchise ever. LOL ( These guys may be friendly with each other when court is out of session, but once the hearing starts they are very professional and definitely serious about their adversarial roles.)


There are 3 people sitting in the reserved seats for the press, directly behind the defense. I recognize the reporter from Whiteside County, we both motion hello. I sure miss Susan Kaufman from the Register-Mail. ~ I'm  waving if your reading this Susan ~  The other 2 are new faces (after court I introduce myself and one of the new faces is from the Galesburg Register-Mail and the other is a new reporter from WGIL a local radio station.)

A little after 10, Nicholas Sheley is brought in by 2 DOC officers, he is fully shackled and wearing his tan DOC uniform, I couldn't help but notice he's sporting brand new Nike shoes.(In the county jail he had to wear plastic sandals year round).

Judge Stewart enters and court is in session.(Again, my notes today are sort of cryptic because they seemed to talk that way.....and they weren't saying exactly what the issues were. I will do my best to "fill " them out a bit given the information I gathered after this hearing)

Judge Stewart says that there are several issues for today:
          There are issues for both parties to brief.
          The defense has also filed a motion to extend discovery.

Jeremy Karlin rises to address the court.
He mentions the interpretation of section 10c of the Capital Litigation Act :
     1. Addresses certification of expense and the question whether the court has power to do so ex parte.
      2. Whether at a future date or whether should be done in camera.
Karlin says the state agrees the court has authority to enter orders if the date, time and place are known. Karlin gives Judge Stewart the agreed proposed order.

Bill Elward addresses the court for the state and says they agree to the order with an amendment to the second line, first sentence.(This will make more sense once I see a copy of the order)

 Judge Stewart says he wanted both sides to offer briefs and make a record. Stewart acknowledges even though he agrees with the language in the order and signing it,  this is unusual because the IL DOC is a part of another branch (executive branch)of the government . The separate branches of government do not  have authority over each other.
(The way I understand the situation is the DOC is objecting to transporting Sheley for these defense requested tests because of financial and security reasons. The defense wants this undisclosed testing done in order to effectively prepare their defense.)

Judge Stewart tells the court the legislature has recognized the need for the defense in a capital case to prepare a defense for the guilt phase and for mitigation in the penalty phase if there is a conviction.Stewart adds there is provision in the Capital Litigation act for ex parte hearings (for the benefit of one side or party, in this instance the defense, in the absence of the other) for expenditures on expert witnesses. He says this boils down to an equal protection argument. If the defendant could afford to hire his own expert witnesses the defense wouldn't have to disclose to the prosecution who they have consulted and would not want to do so.

Judge Stewart even offered an example, for instance if the defense consulted with an expert who determined they could not support the defense's position, the defense wouldn't use them; however, if the state was privy to the identity of this expert just because the defendant was indigent, they could seek the expert out for their own case, which would give the state an unfair advantage. If the defendant was then found guilty, the conviction could be overturned because this unfair advantage could result in the denial of due process.

Stewart said therefore he will side with the defense, but if the Supreme Court overrules there would be no harm to the state because they would then be privy, adding if this court is wrong a bright line test can be done. The court orders the DOC to transport the defendant for the required testing. Stewart told the defense whenever they need an ex parte hearing they should notify the prosecution of the hearing so they are aware, but the order allows Sheley to be tested and transported without the knowledge of the prosecution.Judge Stewart said the court is trying to preserve the rights of everyone.

Karlin in referring to the defense motion to extend discovery deadline, told the court because of the nature of what we just did (order for testing), we don't want to mislead the court or the state when we are still investigating.

Bill Elward rose and told the court the state feels a little handicapped. The state has an offer of proof for their motion in limine due by 6/30. Can't the defense make some response? They can amend if needed adding at some point the state will file a motion to compel.

Stewart said the matter will be set for the next hearing, June 18 (tomorrow) acknowledging unusual circumstances have been involved in the issues brought by the DOC.

There are two more hearings tomorrow, Friday, June 18. The first hearing will be at 10 am. It will be a closed hearing and I'm pretty sure it will be exparte. The second hearing will be "open" and is scheduled for 11 am at the Knox County Courthouse in Galesburg, IL.

Yes, it's a long and winding road but we will get there.....

Update- June 18
I went to the hearing today at 11 am,  but everything that needed to be done was accomplished in the closed hearing. The closed hearing was in camera (versus exparte) and attended by the defense and the attorney(s) from the IL AGO representing the IL DOC. I recognized Lea Bendik from the May 14 hearing. I'm not sure who else from the IL AGO attended as the closed hearing was done by the time I got there. Of course, we aren't privy to the results of that hearing....we'll just have to wait and see if the DOC goes back to the Supreme Court or if Judge Stewart's order to transport Sheley for testing stands.

I stayed around the courthouse a bit and was able to find out that the defense motion to extend deadlines resulted in an agreement between the parties to extend deadlines as follows:

The previous state deadline to enter their offer of proof for the defendant's prior bad acts was extended  2 weeks to July 15.

The defense response to the state's offer of proof is due August 15.

The defense deadline to enter any known Affirmative defenses per Supreme Court Rule 413 is moved to September 15.  
(Affirmative defenses operate to limit, excuse or avoid a defendant's criminal culpability, even if the charges are admitted or proven. Whereas a defendant normally has no burden of proof, when offering an affirmative defense, the defendant usually must affirmatively come forward with some evidence that the defense exists; hence, "affirmative" defenses. A few examples of affirmative defenses are an alibi, self-defense or an insanity-defense.)

I may do an entry on the not-guilty by reason of insanity defense sometime. Not because it applies to this or any other case I'm following, but because the concept interests me. Did you know Illinois doesn't recognize a not-guilty by reason of insanity defense? Each state has a different standard for this defense....like I said...I'll get into that some other time.Stay tuned. ;)

Oh and one more thing.....I was told that the worst sports franchise ever, that I referenced from the June 11 hearing is the Blackhawks, but that was then, I'm told that now the Blackhawks are now the best franchise. LOL! Sphere: Related Content

26 comments:

  1. Thanks Katfish from Missouri.

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  2. Missouri, You are welcome and thanks for stopping by. :)

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  3. Katfish, due to some more computer problems, now hopefully resolved, I didn't have a chance to read this until today (I have very few links on DH's computer and little time). Now I'm understanding more your questions over at T&T!

    While the situations are different, I now understand why the results will be similar, you said it so clearly here and it applies in both cases:

    "if the defense consulted with an expert who determined they could not support the defense's position, the defense wouldn't use them; however, if the state was privy to the identity of this expert just because the defendant was indigent, they could seek the expert out for their own case, which would give the state an unfair advantage."

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  4. Hi Ritanita,
    I figured you hadn't been able to read this post when I saw your comment back at T&T. I hope your computer issue is resolved, kind of like being a bird with your wings clipped when you have to use someone else's computer, you can fly but not as far or as high as you want. LOL.
    Actually Judge Stewart in the Sheley case gave that example you mentioned in court.He seems to be a wise man and really tries to be fair. He kind of reminds me of Stan Strickland...age, look, demeanor.
    I hope they are able to work this issue out, in both this and the Anthony case. I would hate to see a do over in either case, these capital cases cost a fortune not to mention the wear and tear on the families involved. Thanks for coming by, I value your input! :)

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  5. Hi, Katfish! Very informative- it seems the Defense side is just taking advantage where possible of just how physically huge this case is- so many jurisdictions (er, VICTIMS) involved... Makes it worse for the families...
    Thanks for this- it is so overwhelming.

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  6. Hi Karen,

    First, thanks for reading and commenting.
    I know all of this information is overwhelming and somewhat unique because of the position the DOC has taken. I was totally lost during those first 2 hearings....I didn't know who was doing what and of course still don't know for certain what type of experts are involved, but I think it's probably reasonable to assume it's about psychiatric examinations. The next question is what phase of the trial will this testing be used in? See what I meant when I said same issue as Casey Anthony case but with a twist.

    I think this defense is doing their best to give Sheley a vigorous defense, they are mandated by IL law to do so and they are up against a LOT of evidence. I'm pretty sure these guys will only represent Sheley in this trial because even though Karlin and Vaupel are in private practice, they are court appointed by this county.

    John Hanlon will most likely move on to Whiteside County with Sheley because he is from the State Appellate Defenders office in the Capital litigation division. There are 5 victims in Whiteside County including a 2 year old boy and 93 year old Russell Reed,their ages alone qualify as aggravators for the DP. Their cause of death will most like be more qualifiers. All of the victims of Sheley's alleged killing spree were bludgeoned to death...some reportedly with an axe. UGH!

    Those are going to be some heart wrenching trials and a different atmosphere too because that is Sheley's home field. Some think he will plead guilty there, but you never know with NS.

    The family of Tom and Jill Estes (Arkansas couple killed in MO) are really in this for the long haul....they will be the last to see Sheley in a courtroom....you can be sure all of the victims families are following closely. I think one thing is for sure....no one wants any do overs in any of these cases. Sorry to rattle on....

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  7. No, thanks. I haven't been following this one closely at all- still absorbing everything from the Christian/Newsome trials in TN- horrible, horrible, horrible. So many perps, so little time...

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  8. Karen, I totally understand...I couldn't bear to watch the Christian/Newsome trials and just followed at T&T or Calls for Justice. Horrible puts it mildly the things done to those kids....especially when covering Sheley case as closely as I am...nightmares!

    I know the reading on my in the courtroom reports on the Sheley hearings can be tedious, because we don't have the Sunshine laws like FL or cameras in the courtroom like so many states I try to include everything I can see and learn that's going on for those who are trying to closely follow.

    It is a sicko world!

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  9. Katfish, I am going to have to enter as anonymous, if I can, as my new email service isn't one of your system options. But it's me, Feathers. With the BABs people threatening to hack and whack, I felt it best to acquire a secure/paid email service, if for the sakes of my family and those whom I work for who send documents via email to me.

    So let me try this again, and see if it works if I attempt to post anonymously. :)

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  10. YaY! Now back to reading. Hugs.

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  11. Hi Feathers! I wondered if you were having trouble posting. I saw where you tried but it didn't come through. Anonymous is fine with me, just let me know it's you, so I can say howdy. I have a friend who can't get a comment to post here at all....strange. {{{{HUGS}}}}

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  12. Don't you have ANYTHING better to do???? Why are you so obsessed with Sheley???

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  13. Anonomous 3/29 7:48 PM

    What do you care what I have to do? You know nothing about me nor I you.

    Are you by chance Nick's wife Holly or another family member? I can see where you are from by my stat counter...just the town and the IP address, browser used and pages visited. Doesn't really matter, I just wondered.

    I am a true crime/trial junkie as are many of the thousands of readers of this blog each month. I write about many cases and trials as well as missing persons, not just the Sheley case. Our court system and Constitution are of great interest to me.....sorry if that bothers you.

    I am attending the Sheley hearings in the Ronald Randall case because they are nearby.I try to write as detailed account of the hearings as I can because the 8 alleged victims have many family and friends who live far away and follow the case by reading here...

    I'm far from obsessed about Nicholas Sheley and try to remain objective when covering the hearings; however, this is my blog so my feelings do trickle in such as,"I look forward to the day Sheley is locked away and forgotten for the protection of society because I believe he is guilty."(Opinion based on the court filings I have read from this case and his brother Josh's case.) If he can overcome all of the direct evidence and prevail at trial....so be it. Do you think he killed all these people? Sad situation should not have happened :`(

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  14. LOL - You little obsess'er, you! Wow you've really had a case of March Madness here GF...

    Since we have to search you out - as you don't post to our in box - it never ceases to amaze that supporters of alleged criminals take the time to find views that disagree with their own and attempt to make a point. That IMO is rather obsessive.

    Stay well my friend, tell Mr KF we are all thinking healing thoughts for him - hope those couple of good days are now a good week.

    C

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  15. hi; Katfish :) i live close-very close, infact; by where Sheley went on a "killing spree".
    i just wanted to give you a BIG thank you because i wasnt..wheres the word im looking for.."mature" (lol) enought at the time to really understand everything. all i know is, is at the time he killed one of my closest friends dad..im keeping close touch with this website after his court cases and stuff, so thanks bigtime!
    also, i have a few questions to ask about the court cases and stuff, so if you could respond to this that would be awesome. thank you! :)
    ow that im reading about

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  16. hayhay, Sorry that I have been so behind in my coverage the last couple months, but I do have some newer posts up. On the lower right side of this page is a section called "labels" click on Sheley's name in that section and every post I have written about this case will come up...newest at the top. there will be many pages going all the way back to my first. Fell free to ask any questions...I will try to answer them. I get notified in my e-mail when anyone posts here so it doesn't matter which post you comment on; however, if you have info to share you might want to use the newest posts so others following the case can see it. So sorry for you and your friend's loss....there are many trying to follow the case here. I just had a comment from India this morning.

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  17. oh its totally okay. :) and India? wow..thats amazing.
    I cant believe that Sheley is able to represent himself in Knox county in his case in june.. but thats besides the point.
    my question to you-is..
    whenever his hearing is called for the murders in whiteside county, do you think the court case will be open?
    thats the one i want to attend..ive always wanted to witness a court case, and now that one is happening around here im more than interested in witnessing it.
    and if it isnt an open court case, whenever it is announced on where its at, (since he probably wont get a fair trial in whiteside becuase EVERYONE knows about him..its the biggest thing they've had around there in awhile i guess)
    could i countact the courthouse and request to sit in on the trial, since im studying court cases in school? thank you so much, my teachers that ive asked dont really know the answers to half of my questions about him, im glad i found your blog about it all; it keeps me on the edge of my seat. :)
    ps-sorry it took so long for me to get back, ive been quite busy myself!

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  18. hayhay,
    Glad you found your way back to my "pond". I certainly can answer your questions. In our country our courts are open to the public. The court filings are also available under the Freedom of Information Act, the clerks office does charge for the copies. If you attend hearings, the bailiffs might ask who you are just so they know who is who in the courtroom for security purposes..... " My name is hayhay " " and I'm here to view the trial" should be a sufficient reply. There are closed hearings at times referred to as "in camera" when the state and defense are present and there are also a type of closed hearing called "ex parte" where just one side meets with the judge. If the hearing is closed for some reason the public is not allowed in.

    One problem I have had here in Knox County is knowing when the hearings are scheduled. Whiteside county does have an excellent website that you may be able to find out the dates. When Josh Sheley had a spell of trouble a year or so ago I was able to track his case from there.

    I will definitely expect the defense to request a change in Venue for the Whiteside murders. Some states have started going to other counties in the same court district to get the jurors and bring them in for the trial. I have seen cases in TN, FL, and NV that do that to save the expense of moving the entire trial and at the same time ensuring a fair trial for the accused. I could go on and on telling you things but I'm more than happy to answer your questions. This would be a good time to brush up on court procedure in Civics. Your teachers can probably assist you with that.

    Did you follow the link to Sheley's hand written motion to represent himself? He has definitely brushed up on law and court procedure or had some help in the prison. He cites case law which is the foundation of our legal system...precedent set by the State Appellate Courts ( called statutory laws) and that is trumped by the Constitutional laws and rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court..

    I couldn't go to the hearing today...my husband is very sick and may end up hospitalized tonight or tomorrow. BUMMER! ~sigh~ such is life.
    kat

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  19. So more than likely it will be open, you think?
    and by getting different people in the jury you mean that they may ask people from other counties, BUT it still will be here? or the court case will just be moved period..
    Also, do you know if they even have a date set?
    Actually, we are talking about court cases and stuff in Civics, which is so wierd! haha.
    im sorry for all my questions, but i love learning about this stuff..im really wanting to be a judge, or even a prosecutor.
    i hope your jusbad gets better soon!

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  20. hayhay,
    The trial will definitely be open that is how it is done in our country...with the exception of some (few) pre-trial hearings. When that happens it can be to discuss personal health issues of the accused, trial strategy, or even evidence that might be predjudical to the defendant before the court rules it admissable, etc...they must have a good reason to close a hearing!

    I'm sorry to confuse you...I have never heard of IL getting a jury from another county and bringing it to the jurisdiction of the crime but other states do and I WISH IL would too. If the defense is granted a change of venue the trial will most likely be moved. You should understand that to be on a jury it's not required that you have never heard of the crime...the test is: Can you decide a verdict based soley on the evidence that is presented in the trial, not from media reports or word of mouth? With the 24 hour news cycle whether tv, radio, internet, newpapers it is becoming hard to find someone who hasn't at least heard of a high profile case like this. Negative coverage is a reason defense can ask for COV, they usually conduct polls and subpoena media outlets to support the motion to move the trial but the judge doesn't HAVE to grant the motion. There was coverage in the national news about this case when Sheley was on the run.

    There has been no court date set in Whiteside. When the case comes there it will start from the beginning....an arraignment, I don't think a preliminary hearing is necessary because a grand jury has handed down an indictment. When the case is resolved here, I assume Whiteside will get him next. I think the reason we got him first was because the evidence from this case can tie him to all of the other cases.

    Our criminal justice system is of great interest to me too. I have no legal training just what I have learned watching trials and researching for my blogs about cases I follow. It's a hobby. I'm a trial junkie and a true crime buff..if I had realized how interesting it is decades ago, I would probably have gotten into the legal field. :)

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  21. Alright alright, I understand now :)
    so when the stuff is going to be called for in court for Whiteside, will you be attending that one? Because I really, REALLY want to. My mom has already told me she would bring me. (I can only imagine how packed the courthouse may be for that case..so I am gonna have to get there early to get a good seat! hahaha.) but, now that he is representing himself, in my opinion, i think he is gonna plead insanity. Whats your view on this whole deal? :)
    thanks for answering my millions of questions, youre awesome.

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  22. Hello hayhay,
    As much as I want to be in Whiteside County for the pre-trial hearings and trial I don't know if I will be able to attend. I'm about an hour and a half drive away.I'm hoping I'll be able to attend some of the trial.

    When Sheley's case comes to Whiteside County everything starts over. Nothing that has been done here in Knox County matters because it is an entirely different case....so he may or may not be representing himself, the court had to approve it here. If he represents himself he will definitely not be able to use an insanity defense. Even if he is represented by an attorney an insanity defense probably wouldn't work.

    I have seen cases where the defendant has extreme mentally illness, even documented before their crime and the insanity defense didn't work. (Sheley does have mental defects according to the psychiatrists who examined him for this case) "Insanity" is really a legal term and for a defendant to be found not guilty by reason of insanity, the jury must find they were not capable of knowing right from wrong....it's a very high standard.

    Back to your attending....you definitely would need to get there early to be sure you get in.
    I'm glad to answer your questions (if I know)you may have noticed I love talking about this stuff....that's why I blog...my family and friends don't want to hear it. LOL to each their own :)
    I may be slow in responding this next month...I have 2 other cases that I have been following for a couple years...one in CA that the trial starts today. The other in FL starts May 9....so if I don't get right back to you don't be discouraged...I will respond...just check back. I think you can subscribe by email to comments as well as posts to be notified. :)

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  23. my family and friends were "glad" i was into this, until we got into funny arguements in which i always prove them wrong :) hahaha.
    i was wondering if you see this in one of the saukvalley newspaper adds?
    "Letters from the road
    According to the reports:
    Nicholas Sheley, armed with a disposable camera, took pictures of himself and sent copies of them in a letter to his sister, Heidi.
    Nicholas had the camera and film negatives when he was arrested.
    One photo shows Nicholas wearing Brock Branson's shirt, shorts, shoes, and sunglasses.
    In many of the photos, he's wearing a sleeveless Chicago Bears T-shirt and khaki shorts.
    Those items later were found in a trash bin at the scene where the Esteses had been killed. The clothing had Nicholas' blood on it, along with the blood of "multiple victims."

    In the letter to his sister, Nicholas wrote, "Once everything gets exposed, people are going to be in for a real shock.""

    ( http://www.saukvalley.com/articles/2011/04/01/59279424/index.xml )
    also, this really is a gut wrencher.

    -On June 22, 2008, an acquaintance was watching the television show "Cops" with Sheley. When he asked Sheley whether he was in that episode of the show, Nicholas replied, "No, not this one, but I will be soon."

    Police say Sheley's killing spree may have started the next day.

    with that evidence, id love to know how/why he may plead innocent.
    also i remember reading somewhere that some of Brock Branson (my friends dad)'s clothes were found in missouri.

    ALSO! i was just having a talk with one of my friends dad's who grew up with all of the sheleys, and is friends with eric? (smith..maybe) he was part of the Ronald Randall killing. (again, my mistake if im wrong)
    but he told my friends dad that there was no way that Sheley was alone when he killed those people.
    because from the evidence found, there were foot-blood-prints, from shoes stepping into blood and walking away. and they didnt match Sheley's shoe size, nor the same shoe/shoe print.

    gosh, this is just never ending..lol.

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  24. Hayhay!
    Sorry so long to repond the Stacey Barker case and Casey Anthony cases are keeping me very busy.

    Eric Smith was originally charged as being a part of Russell Reeds death....not the murder itself but getting rid of evidence after. He is in prison because he violated his parole by having a gun that Sheley gave him to hold.He told police where to find the gun and turned himself in and agreed to testify but it was still a parole violation that he accepted the gun in the first place.
    feel free to leave questions, I'll answer when I have a chance, :)

    Unfortunately "not guilty" doesn't always mean "innocent" often it really means "not proven beyond a reasonable doubt". I have heard jurors interviewed after cases who said, "Most of us thought he/she did it but the state didn't prove it so we had to acquit."
    This may be why Sheley would plead not guilty even though he made very little effort to cover his tracks. I think he was on a drug and alcohol binge during that week and may not bothered to cover his tracks effectively. His biggest problem, imo, is Ronald Randall's pickup truck had OnStar which made it much easier to track his route so they could find the evidence....of course that's just my opinion.

    I have wondered how Sheley managed to beat 3 adults to death, that poor little 2 yr old boy wouldn't have been much problem to over come, in the same location without help. I don't think anyone else has been linked by evidence. Holly Sheley's DNA was found in Ronald Randall's truck but there must not have been other evidence to implicate her.(NS took the truck back up to Whiteside and kills those 4 then went to MO.)I have heard an axe was used in some of the killings....that could exlain how he was able to do those rock falls murders himself.

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