MORRISON – Convicted killer Nicholas T. Sheley was sentenced this morning to life in prison without parole for beating Russell Reed to death in late June 2008.
Judge F. Michael Meersman also sentenced Sheley to 30 years in prison for home invasion and 15 years in prison for residential burglary related to Reed's death.
All sentences will run consecutive to the life sentence he's already serving for killing Ronald Randall, 65, of Galesburg, shortly after killing Reed.
Sheley has 30 days to file an appeal. He declined to make a statement prior to sentencing.
Meersman also denied Sheley's motion for a new trial.
In an emotional statement to the court, Reed's daughter-in-law, Bonnie, called Sheley an “animal.”
“I hope you look at this case the rest of your life and think of nothing but what you did,” she said. “In memory of Russell Reed, the first one that you killed, I hope you never forget what you did.”
A jury found Sheley, 33, guilty of first-degree murder, home invasion, and residential burglary Nov. 6 after a weeklong trial.
Sheley, whom Reed had helped in the past by giving him items to scrap, went to the elderly farmer's home on Blue Goose Road on June 23, 2008, bludgeoned him in the kitchen, dragged him to the garage, and put him in the trunk of his own 2003 Buick Century.
The car, with Reed's body still inside, was found 3 days later in the driveway of Sheley's brother's girlfriend.
Sheley's green Cadillac was found behind a corn crib on Reed's property.
Sheley, who was addicted to crack cocaine, also took Reed's wallet and checkbook, which were later found behind a local funeral home.
He will be tried next in the deaths of Brock Branson, 29, his fiancee, Kilynna Blake, 20, her 2-year-old son Dayan, and Kenneth Ulve, 25, also believed to be killed on June 28 in an apartment in Rock Falls. A tentative trial date in those deaths is June 3. Sheley once again will be represented by Galesburg attorney Jeremy Karlin, who has been Sheley's lawyer in the first two trials.
Sheley also is charged in the deaths of Arkansas couple Jill and Tom Estes, both 54, who were killed in Festus, Mo. the next day.
All seven were found on June 30, 2008.
Pick up Thursday's Telegraph and Daily Gazette for the full story.