A juvenile charged with killing a Champaign County resident made his initial appearance in court Friday.
During a detention hearing in the Champaign County Common Pleas Court Juvenile Division, a denial was entered on behalf of Donovan Nicholas.
The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi approved charging Nicholas, 14, with one count each of aggravated murder and murder in connection with the death of Heidi F. Taylor, 40.
On Thursday, deputies responded to 4328 Valley Pike in Mad River Township at 6:07 p.m.
Upon arrival, deputies located Taylor, who was pronounced dead by Champaign County Coroner Dr. Joshua Richards.
Appearing before Judge Lori Reisinger on Friday, Nicholas was represented by attorney Darrell L. Heckman.
During the hearing, Talebi said Nicholas should remain in detention for the pendency of the case as he is a risk to public safety. Talebi said the juvenile was lying in wait to lure Taylor in and allegedly used multiple weapons including a firearm and knife in the offense. He also said Nicholas planned to flee the scene if not for an injury to his leg.
Heckman contended it was “silly” to consider Nicholas a flight risk and requested that he be released to his father on house arrest.
Due to the alleged manner of conduct, use of weapons and the crime occurring at his home, Reisinger ordered for him to remain in detention.
A pretrial hearing in the case was scheduled for April 19.
Heckman asked for a competency evaluation to be ordered in the case at the conclusion of the hearing. The request was granted.
Following the hearing, Talebi said the victim was a resident of the house and was the girlfriend of Nicholas’ father.
With the charges Nicholas is facing, Talebi said, there is the potential for a discretionary bindover which, if granted, would transfer the case to the adult court for further proceedings. He added the state would have to request this bindover.
Nicholas stated during the hearing that he is in the eighth grade.
Graham Local Schools sent a press release expressing concern.
“A Graham Local Schools middle school student was allegedly involved in a tragic domestic situation,” the release states. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family and community and we will continue to support them in any way we can in the coming days.
“As this is an ongoing incident and unrelated to the operations of our school campus, we will not be able to offer any details at this time. We will offer any support necessary for students and staff at our schools. Our main focus will continue to be on meeting the educational needs of all student and maintaining normalcy.”
The release also notes Graham’s district crisis team would be made available immediately and over the coming school days to meet the needs of students and staff.
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