HILLSBORO, MO – It was a stunning moment in a Jefferson County courtroom Wednesday afternoon. A notorious, mass-killer admitted his guilt, then took a knee and apologizes in tears.
Even the most seasoned courthouse workers have never seen anything like it. 38-year-old Nicholas Sheley, pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty for 2 murders in Festus; part of a 4-day, 8 murder rampage in Missouri and Illinois in 2008. His victims ranged in age from 2 to 93.
“Not a day goes by that I don`t wish I could bring you all back” Sheley said sobbing. “Not a single one of you deserved to die by my hand”, he said he`d felt God`s grace and mercy come over him in prison.
Sheley was here for two murders in Festus. A prosecutor laid out the extensive gruesome evidence that he
Sheley bludgeoned Tom and Jill Estes of Arkansas to death, repeatedly fracturing their skulls then dumping their bodies behind a Festus convenience store. They`d just been to a family graduation party in Florissant.
The prosecution then accepted Sheley`s guilty plea. The victims` loved ones from the Illinois cases were also at the hearing, all hoping for the death penalty and giving Sheley`s surprise apology little credence.
The other six murders were in Illinois, where there is no death penalty. The prosecutor took no questions from reporters or the victims` families about why he`s not pursuing such a strong death penalty case.