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Judge to hear request to reconsider life sentence

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
Nicholas T. Sheley

MORRISON – Twice-convicted killer Nicholas T. Sheley wants a judge to reconsider his second life sentence, which his attorney says is “excessively cruel and unusual considering the nature of the crime and characteristics of the defendant.”

The motion to reconsider, commonly filed in homicide cases, will be heard Monday.

Sheley, 33, of Sterling, was sentenced Jan. 16 for beating Russell Reed to death on June 23, 2008, in his home. Police found the 93-year-old’s 2003 Buick Century – with his body in the trunk – 3 days later. He was the first of eight people Sheley is accused of killing in June 2008.

Sheley also was sentenced to 30 years for home invasion and 15 years for residential burglary in Reed’s death.

All sentences will run consecutively to the life sentence he’s already serving for killing Ronald Randall, 65, of Galesburg, his second victim.

In the motion to reconsider, Sheley’s attorney, Jeremy Karlin, wrote that Judge Michael Meersman erred when he imposed the life sentence “on any basis other than defendant was previously convicted of murder.”

Before the trial and again at sentencing, Karlin told Meersman that Sheley recently switched to new medication for anxiety, depression and insomnia, and that made it difficult for him to focus. 

Karlin argues that Meersman should have questioned Sheley further about his medical and/or mental condition to determine whether sentencing should have been delayed.

He also argues that Meersman should reconsider his order that the second life sentence run consecutively to the first.

(Note: The motion to consider does contain some errors. For instance, there are two lines marked 3., and the line marked 4. refers to the court’s sentence of natural life for first-degree murder, and 30 years for aggravated vehicular hijacking and 7 years for possession of a stolen vehicle, the latter two of which were imposed in the Ronald Randall case. Sheley is objecting to his life sentence in the Russell Reed case, in which he also was sentenced to 30 years for home invasion and 15 years for residential burglary.)

Sheley next will be tried in the deaths of Brock Branson, 29, his fiancée Kilynna Blake, 20, her 2-year-old son Dayan, and Kenneth Ulve, 25, all of Rock Falls.

A trial date is tentatively set for June 3.

He also is charged with killing an Arkansas couple in Festus, Mo.

Sheley motion to reconsider

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