MORRISON – The wife of an Illinois man accused in a two-state killing spree that left eight people dead in 2008 described him as a "violent drunk" during testimony Tuesday in his second murder trial.
Holly Sheley broke down on the stand as she recalled her husband Nicholas Sheley's behavior to jurors in the Whiteside County courtroom, The (Sterling) Daily Gazette reported.
"I know how he gets when he drinks," she said, referring to him as a "violent drunk" who used crack cocaine. She said she tried to get him into a treatment program and was worried for his safety.
Nicholas Sheley faces charges in the killing of Russell Reed of Sterling. Prosecutors claim he was desperate for money to buy crack when he killed the 93-year-old Reed and stole his checkbook and wallet. Sheley has pleaded not guilty.
Holly Sheley also testified last year when her husband was found guilty in the bludgeoning death of 65-year-old Ronald Randall of Galesburg. She is now in jail in Ogle County, charged with selling heroin. She also is charged in Lee County with misuse of a credit card.
The woman was one of five witnesses Tuesday. She testified about her and Nicholas Sheley's dealings with Reed, saying he gave them an old freezer and a wagon to sell before his death.
Also Tuesday, retired State Police crime scene investigator Tom Merchie testified about analyzing blood stain patterns in Reed's home. Merchie told jurors he thought a bloody object, possibly a body, was carried and dragged through the home.
Nicholas Sheley faces trials in six other deaths. The killings happened in Illinois and Missouri.
He already was sentenced to life in prison in the Randall death, and faces another life sentence if convicted of killing Reed.