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Sheley murder trial postponed

Trial now set for May in Rock Island County

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Philip Marruffo/
Nicholas Sheley listens as his defense attorney, Jeremy Karlin, speaks Nov. 2 during Sheley's murder trial for the death of Russell Reed, 93, of Sterling, at the Whiteside County Courthouse in Morrison. Sheley was found guilty of Reed's murder. On Tuesday, his trial for four deaths in Rock Falls was delayed until May.

MORRISON – The murder trial of twice-convicted killer Nicholas Sheley was postponed Tuesday until May.

Originally set to begin in June, the trial was delayed until October, then January, and now won’t start in Rock Island County Court until May 12 – the first day of jury selection. Testimony is scheduled to begin May 19.

A motion filed by Sheley’s attorney, Jeremy Karlin, says the defense’s DNA expert needs more time to analyze the large amount of material put forth as evidence by the prosecution.

That evidence includes nearly 300 samples from three crime labs, Karlin says, all of which must be evaluated.

Sheley, 34, will face 15 counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of four people who were found beaten to death in a Rock Falls apartment 5 years ago: Brock Branson, 29; his fiancée, Kilynna Blake, 20; her 2-year-old son, Dayan; and Kenneth Ulve, 25.

Sheley already has been convicted of the murders of Ronald Randall, 65, of Galesburg, and Russell Reed, 93, of Sterling. He is serving two life sentences without parole for those crimes.

Sheley also is charged in the deaths of Arkansas couple Jill and Tom Estes, both 54, who were killed in Festus, Mo.

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