After three years of legal maneuvering and many delays, accused spree killer Nicholas Sheley goes on trial tomorrow for the murder of Ronald Randall of Galesburg.
On Thursday afternoon, a jury and four alternates were picked to hear the case and were warned of upcoming graphic crime scene photos taken the day Randall was beaten to death at a Galesburg car wash.
Prosecutors say they will prove the 65-year old retired Maytag worker was killed by Sheley, and his car stolen in a 2-week crime spree that ended with 8 people dead in the summer of 2008.
”I want to see justice done”, said Jim Spellman, a close friend of Randall. ”He killed my friend, I’ll be glad to get it behind us. I think he’s guilty, but he’s innocent until proven guilty”, he said after court Thursday.
Sheley took notes during the week-long jury selection, while sitting next to his court-appointed attorney. \
Security is unprecedented inside the Knox County Courthouse, with at least 7 armed guards inside the courtroom.
Sheley is un-shackled and un-handcuffed when in front of the jury, but Chief Security Officer Scott Condle is equipped with a remote-controlled taser in case of any trouble. Sheley is wearing the device on his leg.
”It’s called a stun bandit, a device similar to a taser. It basically sends a shock through the body and basically it stops you in your spot”, Condle said outside of court during a break.
The hand held device is about the size of garage-door opener and can send 8 second shocks, 9 on one charge.
Opening statements will start Friday morning, with testimony to follow.