Nicholas Troy Sheley

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Nicholas Troy Sheley
Nicholas T. Sheley.jpg
Born (1979-07-31) July 31, 1979 (age 37)
Rock Falls, Illinois, U.S.
Criminal penalty Life in prison without the possibility of parole
Criminal status Incarcerated
Spouse(s) Holly Sheley (2008-2013 divorced)
Date June 23–30, 2008
Location(s) Illinois and Missouri, United States
Killed 8
Weapons Hammer[1]

Nicholas Troy Sheley (born July 31, 1979[2]) is an American spree killer. He is serving life in prison for six murders and is accused of two more in Missouri. He was arrested on July 1, 2008 in Granite City, Illinois. A $25,000 reward was offered for information leading to his arrest. Federal authorities charged him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.[3]

Early life[edit]

Sheley, of Rock Falls, Illinois, had been arrested frequently since adolescence for crimes ranging from marijuana possession to domestic battery.[4] He and his ex-wife Holly married on May 10, 2008. The couple had been dating since 2004. They later divorced in December 2013 after his arrest.[5]

Murder spree[edit]

Sheley's murder spree began on June 23, 2008, when he killed 93-year-old Russell Reed in his hometown, Sterling. Police say Sheley was looking for money to buy cocaine and bludgeoned Reed. Reed's body was found in the trunk of his car three days later.[1]

On June 28, Sheley encountered 65-year-old Ronald Randall at a car wash in Galesburg where Randall had gone to clean his truck; Sheley murdered him and stole his truck, hiding his body behind a grocery store before leaving town. That same night, Sheley drove Randall's truck to Rock Falls and murdered Kenny Ulve, 25, Brock Branson, 29, his fiancée Kilynna Blake, 20, and her son Dayan, 2 in an apartment. All four victims had been bludgeoned with a hammer. Sheley's DNA was found in the apartment and he was seen wearing one of the victim's clothes the next day. Holly Sheley testified that she and her husband had sex the night of the murders by a canal, not in the truck and that the truck's cab was covered in blood. The bodies of Ronald Randall and the four victims in Rock Falls were not discovered until two days later, on June 30.[1]

Sheley fled to Festus, Missouri after the Rock Falls murders and on June 29 allegedly committed his last two murders. The victims were Tom and Jill Estes, both 54, of Sherwood, Arkansas. They had attended a graduation party and were allegedly attacked by Sheley outside the hotel at which they were staying. Sheley put their bodies in Randall's truck and hid the bodies behind a gas station.[6]

Arrest and legal proceedings[edit]

The night before his arrest, Sheley was seen outside of a St. Louis Cardinals game, where he asked to use a tailgater's cell phone. Sheley also requested that the man delete the phone numbers. However, police were able to trace the call back to a drug house in the Kirkwood area. On July 1, Sheley was arrested outside of a bar in Granite City, IL, after bar patrons recognized him from news reports and contacted the local police. He surrendered peacefully.[7]

Sheley was convicted of the first-degree murder of Randall in Knox County, Illinois on September 29, 2011. His trial for the murder of Reed began in Whiteside County, Illinois on October 22, 2012. He was found guilty on November 6 of charges of first-degree murder, home invasion, and residential burglary, and was sentenced on January 16, 2013, to life imprisonment for the murder, as well as 30 years for home invasion and 15 years for residential burglary.[8] He is an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center just outside Joliet, Illinois.

Sheley was also found guilty of first-degree murder in a Rock Island County court on May 29, 2014, for the four murders in Rock Falls. He was sentenced on August 11, 2014.[9] His wife, Holly, testified against him in exchange for immunity. Prosecutors have said that Sheley killed the four victims in Rock Falls after finding out that Branson was having an affair with Holly Sheley.

In February 2015, Sheley was extradited to Jefferson County, Missouri to stand trial for the murders of the Estes' where prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.[6] Illinois unlike Missouri does not have a death penalty.[10]

In January 2016 he appeared in court represented by public defenders asking that the trial be moved to another town to secure an unbiased jury. The judge advised that he would rule later in the week.[11] The judge denied both the change of venue request and a motion for a new judge.[12]

In January 2017 a trial date was set in Missouri. The jury will be selected January 4 and 5 2018 and a two week trial is scheduled for 8 January 2018.[13]



Name Age Location Date
Russell Reed 93 Sterling, IL June 23, 2008
Ronald Randall 65 Galesburg, IL June 28, 2008
Brock Branson 29 Rock Falls, IL June 29, 2008
Kilynna Blake 20 Rock Falls, IL June 29, 2008
Dayan Blake 2 Rock Falls, IL June 29, 2008
Kenneth Ulve 25 Rock Falls, IL June 29, 2008


Name Age Location Date
Jill Estes 54 Festus, MO June 30, 2008
Tom Estes[9] 54 Festus, MO June 30, 2008


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