MORRISON – Opening arguments will begin Monday in the long-awaited Whiteside County trial of Nicholas T. Sheley, who is charged with robbing and beating an elderly rural Sterling man to death in late June 2008.
It took more than 3 hours Friday to pick three alternate jurors – two men and a woman – to join the jury of eight men and four women who had been selected this week.
The jury includes a warehouse foreman, certified nursing assistant, a retiree, a hospital maintenance worker, and a farmer.
The evidence phase of the trial is expected to last 2 weeks. The case will be prosecuted by Whiteside County State’s Attorney Gary Spencer and Assistant Attorneys General Michael Atterberry and Steve Nate.
Sheley is represented by Jeremy Karlin of Galesburg.
Sheley, 33, is charged with eight counts of first-degree murder and one count each of home invasion and residential burglary in the death of Russell Reed, 93.
Prosecutors say Sheley killed Reed in the victim’s home on Blue Goose Road on June 23, 2008, and stole the man’s wallet and 2003 Buick Century.
Police found Reed’s body 3 days later in the trunk of his car.
Sheley also is charged with six other deaths and is serving life withought parole in the murder of Ronald Randall, 65, of Galesburg.
It took 4 days to seat the jury in the first murder case against Sheley to be tried in Whiteside County. He is accused of four other murders in the county.
In Knox County, it took more than a week to seat a jury for the murder trial in Randall’s death.
Out of a pool of 230 Whiteside County residents, 71 were questioned by attorneys and Judge F. Michael Meersman.
After jury selection ended Friday, Karlin said he planned to renew his request to move the trial out of Whiteside County, citing extraordinary media coverage of the case.