Prosecutor: Lots of evidence against Champaign Co. teen in murder case

  • Parker Perry
  • Staff Writer
1:41 p.m Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 Crime
Donovan Nicholas appeared in Champaign County Court Tuesday. Sean Cudahy/Staff

A Champaign County teen who says he has multiple personalities and is accused of killing his surrogate mother pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Tuesday.

Donovan Nicholas, 15, has been charged as an adult with aggravated murder and murder in Champaign County Common Pleas Court. He was ordered to undergo a psychological exam because of the insanity plea.

RELATED: Expert: Champaign Co. murder suspect has multiple personalities

During the teen’s arraignment Tuesday, defense attorney Darrell Heckman asked Champaign County Common Pleas Judge Nick Selvaggio to release Nicholas on his own recognizance. He said the boy isn’t a flight risk.

“He doesn’t even know how to drive a car,” Heckman said in court.

Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi said there’s a lot of evidence against Nicholas and implored the judge to not release him.

Selvaggio set his bond at $700,000. Heckman said he doesn’t expect his client to post that bond.

MORE: Champaign County 14-year-old competent to face murder trial

Nicholas was 14 at the time prosecutors allege he stabbed 40-year-old Heidi Fay Taylor more than 60 times and then shot her in April at his home. Taylor was his father’s live-in girlfriend and surrogate mother, according to court testimony. His father attended the arraignment Tuesday.

He can be heard in a 9-1-1 call obtained by the Springfield News-Sun saying someone else inside him allegedly killed Taylor.

Champaign County Family Court Judge Lori Reisinger moved his case to adult court last month.

A forensic psychologist found Nicholas suffers from a disassociative disorder. Psychologist Daniel Hrinko revealed his diagnosis while he testified during a Champaign County Family Court hearing.

READ: Donovan Nicholas Champaign County stabbing

Heckman has said it’s believed Nicholas’ alleged split personality is a character from an internet horror series named Jeff the Killer. The character is known for fictitious brutal killings on the shows.

During the arraignment Tuesday, Heckman also asked for Nicholas to be allowed to wear civilian clothes to court and to get a haircut.

“I’m going to stay calm but I’m pretty angry over this. He’s been incarcerated for seven months and hasn’t been able to get a haircut,” Heckman said in court.

Selvaggio denied the clothing request but said Nicholas should be allowed to get a haircut.

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