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Man Who Went on Killing Spree Convicted in Quadruple Murder

 / Updated 
Image: Nicholas Sheley discusses his case with an Associated Press reporter on Sept. 23 2008 at the Knox County Law Enforcement Center in Galesburg
Nicholas Sheley discusses his case with an Associated Press reporter on Sept. 23 2008 at the Knox County Law Enforcement Center in Galesburg. Sheley was arrested in charges pertaining to 8 deaths in which it is believed he is connected.Bill Gaither / AP, file

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A serial murderer who rampaged through two states in a grisly June 2008 killing spree that left at least eight people dead was convicted on Thursday in the brutal deaths of four of them.

Jurors deliberated for just a few hours in the case of Nicholas Sheley, who was charged with bludgeoning four people to death with a hammer in a northwest Illinois apartment during an apparently indiscriminate binge of violence.

Sheley, 34, had pleaded not guilty to fatally beating 29-year-old Brock Branson; 25-year-old Kenneth Ulve; 20-year-old Kilyanna Blake; and her 2-year-old son, Dayan.

The grisly killings were part of a spate of horrific crimes prosecutors said Sheley perpetrated in the summer of 2008 that left a total of eight people dead in Illinois and Missouri.

Sheley, 34, was already serving life sentences for the brutal slayings of two Illinois men and faces trial in the death of an Arkansas couple visiting Missouri — killings prosecutors say Sheley carried out during the same summer of bloodshed.

Image: Nicholas Sheley discusses his case with an Associated Press reporter on Sept. 23 2008 at the Knox County Law Enforcement Center in Galesburg
Nicholas Sheley discusses his case with an Associated Press reporter on Sept. 23 2008 at the Knox County Law Enforcement Center in Galesburg. Sheley was arrested in charges pertaining to 8 deaths in which it is believed he is connected.Bill Gaither / AP, file

He had been convicted of fatally beating 93-year-old Russell Read, whose body was found stuffed in the trunk of a 2003 Buick, and 65-year-old Ronald Randall, whose body was found behind a grocery store southwest of Chicago.

And he is due to be tried in the killing of an Arkansas couple whose bodies were discovered behind a gas station near St. Louis while their blood-soaked dogs roamed around a motel parking lot.

The apartment killings were driven by alcohol and drugs, according to police. Prosecutors said Sheley believed Branson was having an affair with his then-wife, Holly Sheley.

Holly, meanwhile, had testified that she and Nicholas had sex the day of those killings — in a truck cab slathered in blood, according to the Rock Island Argus newspaper.

The series of heinous slayings sparked a frenzied, two-state manhunt before Sheley was arrested in early July 2008 while smoking a cigarette outside a bar in Granite City, Ill.

A prosecutor said Thursday that Sheley had left his own DNA in the apartment where Branson, Ulve, Blake and little Dayan were found dead.

— Daniel Arkin, with The Associated Press

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