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Police arrest Illinois man suspected in 8 murders

Nicholas Sheley in an undated photo. REUTERS/Illinois State Police/Handout

CHICAGO (Reuters) - An Illinois man suspected in a killing spree in which eight people, ranging from a 2-year-old boy to a 93-year-old man, were beaten or hacked to death was captured by police outside a bar, authorities said.

Nicholas Sheley, a 28-year-old day labourer, was apprehended on Tuesday outside a bar in Granite City, Illinois, near St. Louis, Missouri, after patrons recognized him from televised news reports and flagged down police.

Sheley was initially charged in a June 14 break-in at a woman’s house near his hometown of Sterling, in western Illinois.

The FBI on Monday announced the manhunt for the “armed and dangerous” Sheley after four bodies were discovered in an apartment in a nearby town. The victims included the toddler, his mother and two other men.

The FBI said all eight victims died from “blunt force trauma,” and the Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site that an axe was used in some of the murders.

The 93-year-old man was believed to have been killed by Sheley a week earlier. He and three other victims -- including an Arkansas couple visiting the St. Louis area whose bodies were found on Sunday dumped behind a Festus, Missouri, gas station -- were chosen at random or to obtain their vehicles, according to local media.

Sheley’s wife told reporters he was addicted to alcohol and drugs, and was prone to violence when under the influence. He had previously been convicted of aggravated robbery.