Ex-convict suspected of killing 8 captured


Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 9:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 9:14 p.m.

GRANITE CITY, Ill.- An ex-convict who police believe killed eight people in two states and who was the subject of a multistate manhunt was caught Tuesday evening in southwestern Illinois, authorities said.

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A photo released Tuesday, July 1, 2008, by the Illinois State Police shows Nicholas T. Sheley, 28, of Sterling, Ill., a man authorities said may be connected to a string of eight killings in Illinois and Missouri. Illinois State Police say Sheley was an acquaintance of one of four people those found killed Monday, June 30, 2008, inside an apartment in Rock Falls, Ill.

AP Photo/Illinois State Police

Illinois State Police caught Nicholas T. Sheley, 28, in Granite City, about 10 miles north of St. Louis, said FBI spokeswoman Kelly Brennan. She didn't elaborate on the arrest.

A spokeswoman with the Granite City police department said Sheley was in custody there, but she declined to give details.

The FBI on Tuesday launched a manhunt for Sheley, who they warned should be considered armed and dangerous. Authorities said they linked Sheley to the killings of eight people in Illinois and Missouri, including a 93-year-old man, a child and a couple whose blood-soaked dogs were found roaming a motel parking lot.

Sheley has only been charged in the death of one of the eight. He faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery and vehicular hijacking in the death of Ronald Randall, whose body was found Monday behind a grocery store in Galesburg, in northwestern Illinois, police said. An autopsy showed the 65-year-old died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Investigators said the other victims all appeared to have died in the same manner and that evidence linked to Sheley was recovered at each scene. The FBI and Illinois State Police declined to elaborate.

Public records show Sheley has multiple convictions for robbery, drugs and weapons charges and has spent three years in prison.

Sheley's uncle, Joe Sheley, 47, of Sterling, told The Associated Press before his nephew's capture that Nicholas Sheley recently struggled with drugs and his rap sheet includes arrests for home invasion.

"He's been in trouble many times over the years, but something like this, yeah, it's out of character," Joe Sheley said. "He's got a temper like anybody else. Just doesn't want to be messed with. Won't back down. But to go looking for a fight, looking for trouble, no."

Sheley spent nearly three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for aggravated robbery between 2000 and 2003 and another 17 months on parole, which ended in April 2005, said IDOC spokesman Derek Schnapp.

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