ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (AP) - Three people occupying apartments adjacent to one where four Rock Falls residents were killed in June 2008 testified Tuesday they heard thuds and screams the night of the deaths.
Chastity Gibbons and Matthew Johnson testified Tuesday in the trial of Nicholas Sheley, 34, of Sterling, who has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of 29-year-old Brock Branson; 20-year-old Kilynna Blake; her 2-year-old son, Dayan; and 25-year-old Kenneth Ulve.
Gibbons said she heard a thud and Blake say, “Oh God, don’t,” in a scared voice. Gibbons said she texted Blake but got no response.
Gibbons said she looked through the front door peephole and saw nothing, then walked into the hallway, knocked on the door and got no response. She called out, asking if everything was OK and didn’t get an answer.
Gibbons’ brother, Chad Behn, testified that while visiting his sister the following day, he also tried to check on the apartment’s occupants but didn’t get a response.
When asked by defense attorney Jeremy Karlin why no one called the police, Behn replied they thought it was a domestic dispute. Gibbons said she didn’t want to seem like a “nosy neighbor.” The victims’ bludgeoned bodies were found two days later.
Johnson, who was spending the night with Gibbons, said he heard a scream followed by loud thuds. Nancy Andrews, who lived in an apartment below the homicide scene, testified that after the thuds she heard a scraping chair on a rear porch and the flick of a lighter.
Crime scene investigator Bethe Hughes explained a seven-minute video of the residence and photographs of the victims’ bodies as investigators found them. Ulve’s body was found in his room slumped in a chair; Blake was found lying in a hallway; and Branson was found face down near her. Blake’s son, Dayan, was found on the floor dressed in camouflage pajamas.
Sheley still faces trial in the Missouri slayings in which an Arkansas couple was killed. He is serving two life sentences for the killing of a man from Galesburg and another from Sterling.
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