- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 7, 2015

HILLSBORO, Mo. (AP) - A change-of-venue hearing has been scheduled for next month for a man serving life sentences for six slayings in Illinois and who could face the death penalty in Missouri if convicted in the deaths of an Arkansas couple seven years ago.

Nicholas Sheley, 36, has insisted in court filings that he can’t get a fair trial in Jefferson County south of St. Louis, where prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty against him in the killings of Jill and Tom Estes. Police say the Sherwood, Arkansas, couple was attacked outside a Festus hotel after leaving a 2008 graduation party.

The hearing on his request for a venue change is scheduled for Nov. 13.

Sheley was extradited to Missouri in February from Illinois. Four of the people he was convicted of killing were bludgeoned with a hammer and were found in a Rock Falls apartment. They ranged in age from 2 years to 29. The other two people he was convicted of killing were 65-year-old Ronald Randall of Galesburg and a 93-year-old man killed in Sterling, Sheley’s hometown.

Unlike in Illinois, offenders can be sentenced to death in neighboring Missouri. A June court filing outlining the state’s decision to pursue the death penalty cites Sheley’s convictions in the six Illinois killings as well as three other aggravating circumstances, including his attempt to rob the Esteses while allegedly committing an “outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman” killing.

Sheley’s Missouri prosecutor declined to discuss the case Wednesday. A message seeking comment on the case was left with Sheley’s attorney.

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