Parents of convicted murderer Nicholas Sheley arrested in Rock Falls, charged in child sexual assault case

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ROCK FALLS, Ill. (WIFR) -- A Rock Falls couple was arrested for charges tied to an investigation on predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

James K. Sheley, 62, and Debra L. Sheley, 62, were taken into custody Thursday. Both were arrested on Whiteside County warrants.

The Rock Falls Police Department confirms with our sister station KWQC the subjects are the parents of Nicholas Sheley.

Nicholas was convicted of killing multiple people in 2008 over a week-long spree in Illinois and Missouri.

James is charged with four counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, and two counts of attempted criminal sexual assault.

Debra is charged with one count of endangering the life or health of a child.

James and Debra were taken to the Rock Falls Police Department. Debra posted bond and was released with a future court date. James did not post bond and was taken to the Whiteside County Jail.

Authorities say Nicholas Sheley's murder spree started on June 23, 2008, when he killed Russell Reed, a 93-year-old man, in his hometown of Sterling.

On June 28, 2008, Sheley then killed Ronald Randall, a 65-year-old man, at a car wash in Galesburg.

That same night, he beat four people to death with a hammer in a nearby apartment. The victims were Kenny Ulve, 25; Brock Branson, 29; Kilynna Blake, 20, and Dylan Blake, Kilynna's two-year-old son. Sheley's DNA was found in the apartment.

Sheley then left for Festus, Missouri. On June 29, 2008, he killed Tom and Jill Estes, both 54, of Sherwood, Arkansas outside of a hotel.

Nicholas Sheley was convicted for the murders of Randall, Ulve, Branson and Kilynna and Dylan Blake over tow separate trials.

In 2017, he pleaded guilty to the murders of Tom and Jill Estes in lieu of the death penalty. Missouri prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty, which Illinois does not have.

Sheley received life sentences for the six murders in Illinois. He was sentenced to life without parole for the murders in Missouri.