Jury set in Sheley's 1st murder trial

GALESBURG, Ill. (AP) — After nearly seven whole days, a jury has been seated in the first trial of an Illinois man charged in eight people's deaths in 2008.

It's still not clear when testimony will begin in Nicholas Sheley's trial. Work continued late Wednesday afternoon to select alternates.

Knox County Judge James Stewart on Wednesday swore in the 12 people who will hear the case against Sheley in the June 2008 bludgeoning death of 65-year-old Ronald Randall of Galesburg. Sheley, 32, of Sterling will be tried separately in five other killings the same month in Illinois and two more in Missouri.

Jurors chosen for the first trial include a mechanic, a truck driver, a stay-at-home mother of three and a former teacher in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The selection process started Aug. 29, with more than 60 prospective jurors questioned.

Stewart on Wednesday declined to give attorneys five extra peremptory challenges, which allow them to dismiss prospective jurors without stating a reason. Prosecutors and defense attorney Jeremy Karlin each started with seven, but Karlin asked for more after using six of his.

Sheley is charged with first-degree murder in Randall's death.

Prosecutors say Sheley didn't know Randall but killed the retiree in Galesburg to steal his truck during a crime spree in June 2008.

Other killings from that month in which Sheley is charged include the death of Russell Reed, 93, of Sterling, who was found in his car trunk; the slayings of Brock Branson, Kilynna Blake and Blake's 2-year-old son, Dayan, who were all found in a Rock Falls apartment; and the deaths of Sherwood, Ark., couple Jill and Tom Estes, who were found dead in Festus, Mo.

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