Trial set for Champaign Co. teen accused of stabbing stepmom 60 times

A trial date has been set for a teen accused of killing his father’s girlfriend and who has claimed a different personality inside of him committed the crime.

Donovan Nicholas, 15, is expected to face a jury trial starting May 8. He's been charged as an adult in Champaign County Common Pleas Court with aggravated murder and murder. He's pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in December and the judge ordered psychological evaluation because of his plea.

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Nicholas has been accused of stabbing 40-year-old Heidi Fay Taylor in April 2017. In a 9-1-1 phone call obtained by the Springfield News-Sun, he can be heard telling dispatchers that another personality killed the woman.

“I just killed my mother,” Nicholas can be heard saying on the recording. “It wasn’t me who, who, it wasn’t me who killed her. It was Jeff. Jeff. I’m sorry.”

He said Jeff was another personality.

“This is going to be really hard to explain but I kind of have another person inside me,” Nicholas says on the recording.

A psychologist has diagnosed Nicholas with multiple personalities, according to court testimony. 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 last year.

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Nicholas was 14 at the time prosecutors allege he stabbed 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.

Champaign County Family Court Judge Lori Reisinger ordered his case moved to adult court in November.

READ: Donovan Nicholas Champaign County stabbing

Defense Attorney Darrell 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.

Nicholas was an eighth grader at Graham Middle School at the time of his arrest.

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