Arkansas couple became final victims in rampage; killer given life after pleading guilty

Posted: October 7, 2017 at 3:38 a.m.

HILLSBORO, Mo. -- A man who killed six people in Illinois was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing a Sherwood couple in 2008 at a Missouri hotel.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Nicholas Sheley, 38, was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to killing Jill and Tom Estes, who police say were attacked outside a Comfort Inn in Festus after leaving a graduation party. Investigators say they were random victims.

The Esteses were the final victims in a rampage in which Sheley killed six people in Illinois, including a 2-year-old child and a 93-year-old man. After a nationwide manhunt, he was arrested in July 2008 in Granite City, Ill.

Sheley received six life sentences in Illinois for the killings in that state. Jefferson County, Mo., prosecutors filed notice in 2015 that they intended to pursue the death penalty in the murders of the Sherwood couple, but Sheley agreed this week to plead guilty in return for a life sentence.

Prosecutors say the string of drug- and alcohol-induced killings began in Sheley's hometown of Sterling, Ill., where the body of 93-year-old Robert Reed was found on June 26, 2008.

Two days later, four people, including the child, were found in nearby Rock Falls, Ill. On June 30, the body of a 65-year-old man was found behind a grocery story in Galesburg, Ill. The man's truck was later found in Missouri.

The Esteses were killed on June 29.

Metro on 10/07/2017