OTTAWA — An Illinois appeals court has ruled
GALESBURG — An appellate court upheld the convictions of spree killer Nicholas T. Sheley in his Rock Falls case in an opinion issued late last week.
In a 2-1 decision, the Third District Court of Appeals in Ottawa upheld Sheley’s conviction on four counts of first-degree murder that led to four life sentences. That Whiteside County case involved the June 2008 killings in Rock Falls of Brock Branson, 29; Kilynna Blake, 20, and her son, Dayan, 2; and Kenneth Ulve, 25.
The issue brought up on appeal was that Circuit Judge Jeffrey O’Connor fell asleep while a videotape was played during the 2014 jury trial. That occurred while then-Galesburg Police Officer Bradley Cirmotich testified to security camera footage that showed Sheley in Galesburg on June 28, which is when Sheley murdered Ronald Randall in Galesburg.
After the video ended, defense attorney
SANTA ANA An appellate panel Tuesday upheld a Superior Court judge’s recusal of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the penalty trial of Scott Evans Dekraai, the worst mass killer in the county’s history.
The three-justice panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeal backed Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals, who found that the D.A.’s office could not ensure that Dekraai received a fair shake in the penalty phase of his death penalty trial because of loyalty to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which Goethals mainly faulted for issues with the handling of jailhouse informants.