MORRISON, Ill. —
An Illinois man accused in a two-state killing spree that left eight people dead had blood on his clothes the night a 93-year-old man was slain, an acquaintance of the defendant said Wednesday.
Nicholas Sheley is on trial in Whiteside County in the killing of Russell Reed of Sterling. Prosecutors say Sheley was desperate for money to buy crack cocaine when he killed Reed then stole his checkbook and wallet. Sheley has pleaded not guilty.
Amber Gonzales, 27, testified Wednesday that she noticed there was blood on Sheley’s clothes that day.
Gonzales said he joked to her, “I just got done killing somebody,” The (Sterling) Daily Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/PGi1Bz). Sheley later said he had been gutting fish.
Shelley is accused in a 2008 spree of violence in Illinois and Missouri that left eight people dead. The current trial is his second; He has already been found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in the bludgeoning death of a Galesburg man, 65-year-old Ronald Randall.
Gonzales told the court that she and her husband had been smoking crack the day that Reed was killed, and that Sheley came to them looking for drugs. She said Sheley said he would return with cash if her husband could promise him more crack cocaine.
Megan Nance, 26, a convenience store clerk testified that Sheley had bloody clothes when he came into her store to buy beer and cigarettes.
Sheley’s wife testified Tuesday that he was a violent drunk who used crack cocaine.
Also Wednesday, the third day of proceedings, Judge F. Michael Meersman dismissed a male juror. One of three alternate jurors will take his place. An attorney representing one of the witnesses at the trial said that he represented the juror in a divorce case with a pending child support issue.
Meersman said divorce is different from being a party in a lawsuit or charged with a crime, but he dismissed the male juror anyway. Prosecutors said the issue didn’t automatically disqualify the juror. Sheley’s defense attorney asked the juror be dismissed for cause.