Good Love/Bad Love

Nicholas O’Shea lived with his parents in Keokuk. He was 18 years old and had a girlfriend Billie Jo Bouchard who lives in Hamilton. Bouchard was a senior in high school and lived in her grandmother’s house in Hamilton. The grandmother was away a lot of the time and Bouchard was pretty much unsupervised. The relationship between O’Shea and Bouchard was a good one, no fights, seemingly loving atmosphere.

Next to the O’Shea residence lived a married couple, Mark and Jan Boley, age 36. Contrary to the O’Shea/Bouchard relationship, the Boleys had a tumultuous and unstable dysfunctional marriage. Often their fights became so loud and long that Nick would call the police to complain, citing he was trying to sleep and the fighting was common for the couple. Mark Boley had been convicted for spousal abuse for two of the altercations with his wife, they also had an arrest for delivery of cocaine. But the Boley’s anger and animosity was not confined to just each other, I guess when they found out that O’Shea had called the police on them they directed their anger at him. When a friend of O’Shea came to pick him up for school, the friend honked the horn to let Nick know that he was there. The Boleys let loose a string of insults and racial slurs toward the friend and Nick that scared them both. If Nick went outside and the Boleys noticed him, they would call him vulgar names and otherwise taunt him.

Nick summoned the police to report these acts and the officer told him to try and avoid the couple. Remember that these acts were going on for almost three years leading to the final outcome. The Boleys claimed to police that one of their relatives was assaulted by O’Shea, which Nick denied and was never arrested or prosecuted for the crime. He also learned from sources that the Boleys were threatening to kill him in retaliation for the supposed attack. Nick also claimed that the Boleys were following him to school and stalking him. Mark Boley himself admitted to driving past the school to let ‘O’Shea know he was around’. He was intimidated by the Boleys to the extent he decided to quit school and moved to Hamilton to live in Bouchard’s residence. The Boleys actually continued the harassment by driving by Bouchard’s residence in Hamilton, and harassing Bouchard and friends at her place of employment. After two weeks, O’Shea moved back to Keokuk into his parents house.

Now that he was back home, Bouchard would come over to O’Shea’s house to visit and sometimes spend the night. The Boleys also extended their verbal abuse towards Bouchard. Bouchard was no stranger to the Boleys, before going with O’Shea she was a guest at the Boleys, compliments of the Boley’s son. While she visited the Boley house she would smoke marijuana with Jan Boley and experience firsthand the fights the couple had inside their home. Now when she would leave O’Shea’s house she was forced to endure the taunts along with Nick.

On March 24,1998, Bouchard came over to the O’Shea house and spent the night. In the morning of the 25th she left the house to go to school. On the way to her vehicle, Jan Boley bolted from her house and started running towards Bouchard who was entering her pick up truck. Boley started screaming and pounding on the door of the truck and opened the door to start assaulting the girl. O’Shea was awakened by the noise outside of the screaming and the doors slamming shut. Looking outside he saw Boley yelling and cursing at Bouchard and trying to force her out of the truck, threatening to “kick her ass”. He grabbed a phone and started to call 911 but heard more calls of distress from Bouchard, who had her arm in a sling from a collarbone injury. He dropped the phone, grabbed a knife and ran outside in his shorts and socks. As he went to Bouchard’s aid, Boley was seen holding her and striking her numerous times, later on, Bouchard was at a loss to tell whether Boley was hitting her head on the street or with an object or against the truck.

O’Shea then went towards the two women and Boley stopped attacking Bouchard and went towards O’Shea. O’Shea claims he tried to push Boley away and accidentally stabbed Boley causing her death a short time later. Once she was down and he had checked to see if Bouchard was okay, O’Shea went in the house, telephoned police, waited for their arrival and allowed them to investigate with complete cooperation.

There were two witnesses to the assault on Bouchard and Boley. Both gave varying reports of the scene. One of the witnesses, a registered nurse, said she drove onto the scene, saw Boley in a confrontation with Bouchard, saw O’Shea run up to Boley, grab her by the hair and strike her three times in the chest. She saw no knife. O’Shea argued that there was only one knife wound to be found and considered the witness’s statement to be mistaken. The other witness saw the conflict between the two women and O’Shea running up to Boley but was unable to accurately see what transpired.

O’Shea was charged with first degree murder, went to trial and was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to fifty years in prison.

What makes you wonder here is the amount of harassment directed towards O’Shea, basically a minor, from two adults who had police records themselves, why the authorities did not do more to protect O’Shea ? It was on record that O’Shea did contact the police numerous times and complained of the treatment received from his next door neighbors. Once the harassment started, did O’Shea retaliate in any way against the Boleys ? From the record it shows that he really did not do anything that can be proven. I have to wonder if the decision to charge him with murder was the right thing in the beginning. It sounds more like manslaughter, or even justifiable self defense in my opinion.

I remember this case for that reason and that is why I am relating it here. I did not know the principles in this case but others have told me that the Boleys were pretty much the neighbors from hell and crossing their paths the wrong way was a mistake. People who would take a small infraction and then boost it all out of proportion and never let you forget about it.

UPDATE: It appears Mr. O’Shea has been released from prison as of July 2018

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