One of seven potential jurors was retained Tuesday for the murder trial involving the death of a Galesburg man, Ronald Randall, who was allegedly bludgeoned to death in 2008 by Nicholas Sheley.
An Abingdon mother of five said she would be able to provide a fair trial because she has not seen any media reports on the incident and does not know any of the attorneys involved in the case. She said she would be able to make arrangements with a babysitter for her children.
“I would be able to hear both sides of it, not knowing as much as the next person who would watch the news and know more. I could be more fair between the prosecution and the (defense),” she said.
Judge James Stewart said he was looking for 12 jurors and four alternates. Groups of six were questioned about their jobs, relationships with the attorneys in the case, relationships with the defendant and victim and news preferences.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys questioned six other potential jurors Tuesday afternoon who were eventually excused for either knowing Randall or indicating that they were prejudiced from media reports.
Juror’s No.’s 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7 said they had learned about the case from media outlets and would not be able to provide Sheley a fair trial. Many indicated that they would require the defense prove he is not guilty rather than the prosecution prove he committed murder.
“When something like that happens around home it kinda burdens you. From the information I was reading I’d say ‘yeah,’ he’s probably guilty,” said Juror No. 6.
Juror No. 2 was excused after telling attorneys he took care of the victim’s truck for four to five years. He said if he saw Randall on the street he would have stopped and talked with him.
Earlier Tuesday morning about 87 members in the second jury pool were oriented, however, this time Stewart sternly reminded them to follow his rules.
He told them they will not be sequestered during the trial, however, they cannot communicate with witnesses or attorneys, discuss the case, read the news or research the case outside of the courtroom.
A potential juror broke Stewart’s rules and made an anonymous phone call Monday to discuss the pending murder case.
“When I say do not discuss this point with anyone else … unfortunately, I mean it,” Stewart said, adding that the court will address the matter at a later date.
Police in Illinois say that Nicholas T. Sheley has killed at least eight people in two states. They say the violent and armed man is on the run, and he will go to extreme lengths to stay out of police custody.
Authorities say he’s not good at all, and they are now investigating Sheley as the probable suspect in the murder of four people in rural Rock Falls, Ill.
Detectives there say two men, a woman and a child were found killed in an apartment on Monday, June 30.
Later that day, cops uncovered a brutal crime scene in Festus, Mo. where a couple had been killed and their truck was missing. Also on Monday, Galesburg, Ill. police say an elderly man was murdered and left behind a grocery store in their town.
There have already been charges against him dropped. I am not sure why but I am guessing to help speed up the trial.
GALESBURG — Prosecutors dropped a handful of the charges against an Illinois man accused in a string of killings in 2008 as the first of his trials began today.
Nicholas Sheley of Sterling is being tried first in the June 2008 killing of Ronald Randall of Galesburg.
Knox County Judge James Stewart says Sheley’s trial could take anywhere from three to eight weeks.
Prosecutors say they’re dropping several of the first-degree murder charges filed against Sheley in Randall’s death. A handful of lesser charges were dropped, too.
The 32-year-old Sheley still must answer to numerous charges in the Galesburg man’s bludgeoning.
Sheley also is charged in five more deaths in Illinois and two in Missouri for which he’ll be tried later. He’s pleaded not guilty to all of them.