Girlfriend of Joliet mass shooting suspect pleads not guilty to obstruction

Will County Assistant Public Defender Zack Strupeck enters a plea of not guilty for his client, Kyleigh Cleveland-Singleton, 21, at her an arraignment at the Will County Courthouse on Thursday, Feb. 8th 2024 in Joliet.

The girlfriend of a suspect in the Joliet mass shooting that claimed the lives of eight people shrouded her face with a scarf outside the Will County Courthouse just moments after she pleaded not guilty to obstructing justice charges.

On Thursday, Kyleigh Cleveland-Singleton, 21, appeared for her arraignment on charges alleging she obstructed the investigation and apprehension of her boyfriend, Romeo Nance, 23, whom police say was the suspect in the Jan. 21 fatal shooting of seven of Nance’s family members, as well as a former citizen of Nigeria.

Even with the charges against Cleveland-Singleton filed, the investigation remains “open and active,” said Joliet police Sgt. Dwayne English. Because of that, English said he was unable to provide additional information.

Cleveland-Singleton did not say much in court other than, “Yes, sir,” when Will County Judge Dave Carlson informed of her next pretrial hearing in March 7.

After the hearing, Cleveland-Singleton, who was with other people, shielded her face with a black scarf and refused to take questions from reporters.

Kyleigh Cleveland-Singleton, 21, shrouds her face with a scarf as she exits the Will County Courthouse on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024 in Joliet. She is charged with obstructing justice in the investigation and apprehension of her boyfriend, Romeo Nance, 23, whom police say was a suspect in the Jan. 21 mass shooting in Joliet.

Cleveland-Singleton’s case was assigned to Will County Judge Sarah Jones. As of Thursday, Cleveland-Singleton is receiving representation from the Will County Public Defender’s Office.

A grand jury has indicted Cleveland-Singleton with three counts of obstructing justice.

Two of those counts alleged she intended to prevent the apprehension of Nance on Jan. 22 by falsely telling a Joliet police detective that she did not know Nance’s phone number and falsely telling the same detective she last spoke to Nance at a gym.

The third count alleged Cleveland-Singleton intended to prevent the apprehension of Nance by concealing her cellphone. It’s not yet publicly known if police have recovered her cellphone in the investigation.

Police consider Nance a suspect in the slaying of his mother, Tameaka Nance, 47, his brother, Joshua Nance, 31, and his three sisters, Alexandria Nance, 20, Alonnah Nance, 16, and Angelique Nance, 14. He’s also suspected of killing his aunt Christine Esters, 38, and uncle William Esters II, 35.

Nance was also identified by police as the suspect in the killing of Toyosi Bakare, 28, a former citizen of Nigeria who was living in Preston Heights, just outside the city limits of Joliet. Police also believe Nance was involved in the shooting of a 42-year-old man who suffered a non-fatal gunshot wound to the leg within the city as well.

The bodies of the Nance and Esters family members were found by police on Jan. 22 inside two residences in the 2200 block of West Acres Road. The events that led to the discovery of the bodies first began with the investigation of the shooting of Bakare and the 42-year-old man the day before.

Nance reportedly died by suicide after a confrontation with law enforcement in Texas. Joliet police officials announced Nance’s demise in Texas during the same evening on Jan. 22 where they held a news conference about the mass shooting.

A vigil and a funeral were held for the Nance and Esters family last week.