Jill Estes and Tom Estes Murders – A guy accused of killing six people in Illinois nine years ago is likely to plead guilty to the murder of an Arkansas couple sleeping at a Festus hotel. In June 2008, Tom and Jill Estes of Sherwood, Ark., stayed at the Comfort Inn in Festus because it accepted dogs. They were in town for a St. Louis graduation party. When Sheley came across the couple at the Festus motel, he had already slain a 93-year-old man in his hometown of Sterling, Ill.; four people in Rock Falls, Ill., including a 2-year-old; and a 65-year-old man in Galesburg, Ill. Sheley received two life sentences without the possibility of parole, as well as two additional 75-year jail sentences for armed criminal action.
Residents of a hotel in Festus, Missouri, witnessed a scene straight out of a horror film when they noticed a couple of blood-covered canines roaming around the parking lot. The police were called right away, and they followed the blood trail and the dogs until they found Jill and Tom Estes’ dead.
‘See No Evil: The Blood Trail,’ a documentary on Investigation Discovery, takes viewers through the gruesome murder and reveals how the offender turned out to be a serial murderer. Let’s take a closer look at this case and try to figure out where the killer is right now.
What Caused Jill and Tom Estes’ Deaths?
Jill and Tom Estes, originally from Arkansas, were staying at an inn in Festus to attend a graduation party. They chose the inn since they could keep their pets with them. Jill and Tom, on the other hand, had no idea they were about to become the serial killer’s final two victims. The couple’s loved ones described them as helpful and cheerful, and they talked about how a rage-fueled crime snatched two lovely lives away from the world.
Residents of the Festus hotel spotted the couple’s dogs running around the parking lot, completely coated in blood, on June 29, 2008. The residents alerted the authorities, but officers discovered no evidence of the couple in their room. Using the dogs to track down the missing people, investigators were able to find the bodies after following a 1.5-mile blood trail.
The bodies were discovered behind a local gas station, and the police discovered that Jill and Tom had been slain before being left there. Furthermore, an autopsy revealed that the two were beaten to death and that, despite the presence of the dogs, they were powerless to intervene. With two bodies in their possession, the cops launched a full homicide investigation.
Who Kill Jill and Tom Estes and Why?
Interestingly, the police were on the lookout for a serial killer named Nicholas Sheley, who was wanted for six unrelated killings in Illinois, even as they investigated Jill and Tom’s deaths. When Sheley’s DNA was discovered at crime locations, the police were on his tail, according to the show, and his wife consented to testify against him.
Officers began their investigation into Jill and Tom’s deaths before taking a foreign DNA sample from the crime site while Sheley was still missing. To everyone’s surprise, the DNA matched Sheley’s, indicating that the serial killer was responsible for the double homicide. Sheley was also seen by a number of CCTV cameras, which allowed detectives to put together a solid timeline and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sheley was the one who killed Tom and Jill.
The suspect had already been the target of a nationwide manhunt at that point, with officials plastering his image all over social media, television, and newspapers. Fortunately, their strategy worked, and police soon learned that Sheley was spending his days in Granite City. As a result, on July 1, 2008, authorities used a few useful clues to apprehend Sheley outside a pub.
What Has Happened to Nicholas Sheley and Where Is He Now?
He was convicted of each of the murders in Illinois after being brought to trial, and he was sentenced to six life terms plus a few years for the other crimes. However, because Illinois does not have a death sentence, prosecutors were able to have him extradited to Missouri, where he was tried for the murders of Jill and Tom Estes in 2017.
Despite this, Sheley pleaded guilty to two charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action before the matter could go to a jury trial. As a result, he received two life sentences without the possibility of parole, as well as two additional 75-year jail sentences for armed criminal activity. Furthermore, the judge stated that his Missouri sentences would run consecutively and concurrently with his Illinois terms.
Nicholas Sheley remains confined at the Lawrence Correctional Center in Sumner, Illinois, with no prospect of parole.