Prosecutors want to try Donovan Nicholas as an adult. Jeff Guerini/Staff

Champaign County 8th-grade murder suspect could be tried as adult

Champaign County prosecutors have requested to try the eighth-grade student accused of killing his dad’s girlfriend as an adult.

Prosecutors considered the seriousness of the alleged crimes of Donovan Nicholas, 14, as well as “the deliberate and premeditated nature of the offenses alleged and the available sanctions and penalties available in the juvenile system,” according to a statement from Prosecutor Kevin Talebi.

Nicholas has been charged with both murder and aggravated murder for the killing of 40-year-old Heidi Fay Taylor, according to court documents. He appeared in court on Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing.

He’s accused of stabbing and shooting Taylor, records show. It’s believed the teen would have attempted to flee the scene if not for a leg injury, Talebi has said.

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Nicholas stabbed himself in the leg during the struggle with Taylor, court records say.

In a 911 call to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, Nicholas blames the killing on an alternate personality named Jeff.

“This is going to be really hard to explain, but I kind of have another person inside me,” Nicholas can be heard saying in the call. “…I swear it wasn’t me. It was Jeff. Jeff is inside me.”

The teen’s attorney, Darrell Heckman, said he will resist the prosecutor’s request to bind the case over to adult court. He previously requested a competency evaluation to determine if Nicholas is able to stand trial.

“There are mental health issues in this case, and that’s just being thorough,” Heckman said.

Nicholas has no medical history of mental health issues, he said.

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“I can say that Donovan has never had any mental health issues that have required treatment prior to this time,” he said.

A doctor is scheduled to meet and evaluate Nicholas on Thursday, Champaign County Juvenile Court Judge Lori Reisinger said in court.

Multiple hearings will be held to determine if Nicholas’ case will be bound over, Talebi said. It’s ultimately the juvenile court judge’s decision.

Talebi also has met with the victim’s family members and deputies, he said.

“I’ve spoken to [Taylor’s] two adult children and…they’re obviously very concerned and they’re obviously very upset about having lost their mother,” Talebi said. “And they want to be involved in the process, and I expect them to continue to be involved in the process.”

Talebi said he hasn’t met Nicholas, but, “I don’t have any information to suggest he would be found incompetent. That’s all I can say at this point,” he said.

Nicholas is scheduled to appear in court again on June 15.

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