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January 16, 2013


Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Whiteside County State’s Attorney Trish Joyce issued statements today following Judge F. Michael Meersman’s sentencing of Nicholas Sheley to natural life in prison for the June 23, 2008 murder of Russell Reed, 93, of Sterling. Judge Meersman also imposed a 30-year sentence for Sheley’s conviction for home invasion and 15 years for residential burglary. In November 2012, a Whiteside County jury found Sheley guilty on all three charges.

In response to today’s sentence, Attorney General Madigan made the following statement:

“Life in prison is the only appropriate sentence under Illinois law for these heinous crimes. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Reed, who sadly was one of many victims of Nicholas Sheley’s senseless killing spree. Today’s sentencing ensures that Nicholas Sheley will continue to pay for his actions for the remainder of his life.”

State’s Attorney Joyce added:

“The team of former State's Attorney Gary Spencer and Assistant Attorneys General Michael Atterberry and Steven Nate did a phenomenal job of presenting evidence to the jury to ensure the successful prosecution of Mr. Reed’s murderer. The police and lab personnel who collected and analyzed the evidence also deserve credit for their exceptional work. The Reed family has had to suffer through this unthinkable ordeal, and I hope that today's proceedings, which allowed them to voice their thoughts and emotions regarding this horrific crime, will bring them some sense of peace and closure.”

Former State’s Attorney Spencer requested the assistance of Attorney General Madigan’s office in prosecuting Sheley. Working with State’s Attorney Spencer, Assistant Attorneys General Michael Atterberry, Bill Elward, Steven Nate and Stephen Plazibat handled the case for Madigan’s Criminal Enforcement Division.


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