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Illinois man convicted in four beating deaths, including toddler

(Reuters) - An Illinois man has been convicted of murder in the beating deaths of four people, including a toddler, during a week-long two-state crime spree in which eight people died in June 2008.

A Rock Island County jury on Thursday found Nicholas Sheley guilty of four counts of first-degree murder for killing Kilynna Blake, 20, her 2-year-old son Dayan, Brock Branson, 29, and Kenneth Ulve, 25, in Rock Falls, Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a statement.

The convictions are the latest against Sheley, who had already been convicted for two other murders that occurred in the rampage that left six dead in Illinois and two dead in Missouri.

He is currently serving life sentences for the Illinois slayings of Ronald Randall, 65, of Galesburg and Russell Reed, 93, of Sterling, Madigan said.

He faces trial in the Missouri killings.

Sheley is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 11 for the Rock Falls killings, which took place in an apartment.

Authorities said all eight of the victims appeared to have been chosen at random and had been bludgeoned or hacked to death.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and James Dalgleish)

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