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Suspect in 8 U.S. killings nabbed outside Illinois bar

An intense police search across two states in the U.S. Midwest for an ex-convict suspected in eight grisly slayings has ended with the man quietly arrested outside a bar known as a police hangout.

An intense police search across two states in the U.S. Midwest for an ex-convict suspected in eight grisly slayings has ended with the man quietly arrested outside a bar known as a police hangout.

Nicholas Sheley's capture was only a matter of time because of the intense publicity surrounding the case, said Tim Lewis, police chief in the St. Louis suburb of Festus, Mo. Police knew from a number of witness reports that Sheley was in the area, he said.

"He was desperate and he gave up without a fight," Lewis said Tuesday night.  

Sheley was taken into custody around 6:40 p.m. Tuesday while smoking a cigarette outside Bindy's, a bar in Granite City about 16 kilometres north of St. Louis, witnesses said.

He ordered a glass of water and went to the bathroom before an employee and customer recognized him, bartender Katie Ronk said.

The customer, Gary Range, said he left the bar and notified a police officer parked in the lot outside.

It was not immediately clear when or where Sheley would appear in court, because authorities are deciding whether he will stay in Illinois or go to Missouri to face possible charges.

The FBI on Tuesday launched a nationwide search for Sheley, who they warned was considered armed and dangerous. He is suspected of killing, among others, a 93-year-old man, a toddler and a couple whose blood-soaked dogs were found roaming a motel parking lot.

Sheley has only been charged in the death of one of the eight.

He faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery and vehicular hijacking in the death of Ronald Randall, whose body was found Monday behind a grocery store in Galesburg, in northwestern Illinois, police said.

Other killings linked: police

Investigators said the other possible victims all appeared to have died in a similar manner to Randall, and that evidence linked to Sheley was recovered at each scene. The FBI and Illinois State Police declined to elaborate.

Sheley has a lengthy criminal record, police say, including convictions for assault and robbery.

Federal prosecutors in northern Illinois charged Sheley on Tuesday with fleeing the state to avoid prosecution for a June 14 home invasion in the town of Sterling.

 

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