Friday, December 26, 2008

Nicholas Sheley Found Fit to Stand Trial; Case Enters Uncharted Ground Regarding Defendant's Fitness to Represent Himself

Guest Entry by Katfish!

Today, Monday, December 22, I attended another hearing in the case of IL v. Nicholas T. Sheley. Sheley is a 29 year old Sterling, IL man accused of a two-state killing spree in late June, 2008. Knox County is the first to prosecute Sheley. He is charged with bludgeoning to death a 65 year old Galesburg, IL man, Ronald Randall, and robbing him before he dumped his body and stole his pickup truck. If convicted, Sheley will face the death penalty.

When I pull up to the courthouse at about 1 p.m. I’m surprised to get a parking spot right in front….does it seem petty to note this?….not when it’s sub-zero temperatures and icy out , those spots become valuable! LOL ! On my way to the entrance, I take a peak at the back side of the courthouse where they usually bring in the prisoners, it doesn’t look like Sheley has been brought over from the jail yet, he is usually escorted by a caravan. The hearing is supposed to start at 1:30 p.m..

As I enter the courtroom I see there are more people here than usual. Ronald Randall’s family is here, sitting in the first two rows on the prosecution side. There are a few more of their family here today, that’s really good to see. Strength in numbers. I’m sure it’s hard for many people to attend court on a regular basis because of work. Shirley Pringle, a victims rights advocate for Knox County joins them. She does a great job and provides a lot of support. ( She rescued me today, I'll get to that later)

There are people seated on the defense side that I haven’t seen before, a young couple and an older couple who seem to be together. During Sheley’s hearings, the court wants to know who is in the courtroom and their reason for being here, I overhear the older woman say they are here for Russell Reed. The bailiff tells them if there is any trouble in the courtroom with Sheley, everyone should go to the jury room at the back far side of the courtroom. Russell Reed, 93, of Sterling is the first homicide victim in this alleged killing spree.

I must have a puzzled look on my face because the bailiff asked me wasn't I aware of the procedure if there was trouble with Sheley in the courtroom? I tell her I hadn't heard that before, but had decided on my own, if Sheley represents himself, I'm sitting in the back row. LOL ! She repeated the plan to me and said that door will be unlocked. I'm sure this plan wasn't formulated just for Sheley, Knox County has had other violent crime cases, even where the defendant represented himself....always good to have a plan.

A female (late teens or early 20’s) comes in and sits in the back row on the defense side of the courtroom. The bailiff asks her the normal questions, I couldn’t hear her response but I do hear the bailiff tell her she is not allowed to say anything to Sheley when he comes in the courtroom, if she does she will be asked to leave. Hmmm, I will try to find out more about her.

Continue reading at katfish ponders...

2 comments:

Liz said...

Many thanks katfish - it is amazing that justice moves along at all, given all the variations on issues that can arise

katfish said...

So true Liz,
I'm pretty sure this will end up being appealed as well, because of the death penalty and the Indiana v. Edwards ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court and all involved are making certain they dot all their i's and cross all their t's. I feel for the families of all the victims, I'm sure it's very hard to wait...for justice. There are at least three more trials to come...whenever this one is done.