A 14-year-old Champaign County boy accused of killing his dad’s girlfriend last week told emergency dispatchers a separate personality within him forced him to commit the murder.
Donovan A. Nicholas, 14, has been charged with murder and aggravated murder in connection with the death of 40-year-old Heidi Fay Taylor, according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. He remains in a juvenile detention center.
Nicholas, who described Taylor as his mom during the 9-1-1 call, told a Champaign County dispatcher an alternate personality named “Jeff” killed her, according to the recording obtained by the Springfield New-Sun.
“This is going to be really hard to explain but I kind of have another person inside me,” Nicholas can be heard telling the dispatcher.
Taylor was killed last Thursday night at Nicholas’ home in the 4300 block of Valley Pike in Mad River Twp.
Nicholas can be heard on the recording saying Jeff stabbed Taylor and then shot her in the head.
“He sometimes takes control and I have no control, I have no control over him,” Nicholas says on the 9-1-1 call.
The dispatcher asked the suspect why Jeff killed Taylor.
“She always did drugs and she totally ignored me,” Nicholas said. “Like once she hit me and she was just — she was done.”
Nicholas also can be heard telling the dispatcher that he’s scared.
“I didn’t want to kill her,” he said. “I hate Jeff so much. He’s — he’s going to make me die in prison.”
The teen also told dispatchers he stabbed himself in the leg and needs to go to the hospital.
“It hurts really bad,” he said.
Nicholas appeared in Champaign County Juvenile Court on Friday and Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi argued he planned the murder and intended to run away from the scene, but couldn’t because of his leg injury. Talebi couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.
The suspect’s attorney, Darrell Heckman, said in court that the teen has mental health issues.
Nicholas is an eighth grader at Graham Middle School. Students and staff were shocked to hear about his arrest, Superintendent Kirk Koennecke said.
“We’re not used to dealing with situations like this with students of this age,” he said.
On Monday, the school held an assembly for all eighth graders, Koennecke said, to discuss the facts with the students and offer them support.
“What we try to do is be transparent about facts that we can share and also talk about coping skills,” Koennecke said.
Students also had the chance to talk with counselors after the assembly, he said.
“This is a unique occurrence,” he said, “and we are all very concerned about the community right now and I think it unites us.”
Nicholas didn’t have a history of behavioral issues at the school, Koennecke said.
“Anytime you have a student this age who’s involved in something that could be so serious, it makes people question character and it makes people question behaviors,” he said.
“If somebody has a need, they should talk about it,” he said. “They shouldn’t be afraid to share it.”
Students can also talk about the crime anonymously by calling a crisis hotline, he said, at 1-800-273-8255 or sending a text to 4hope.
Nicholas’s attorney has requested a competency evaluation to determine if he’s fit to stand trial. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 19.
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