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Teen accused in Carter Co. killing to be tried as adult

Staff Report • Sep 10, 2013 at 9:12 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A Carter County teen who has been charged with second degree murder and attempted second degree murder will be tried as an adult in Criminal Court.

Nicholas Willen, 15, has been charged in the stabbing death of Elijah McKinney. McKinney was killed in an assault that occurred in Cash Hollow on Dec. 16, 2012.

Willen's case began in Juvenile Court. Juvenile Court Judge John Walton held a hearing on Aug. 16 to transfer the case to Criminal Court. Assistant District Attorney Mark Hill said Walton ordered the transfer following three hours of testimony. A transfer order has not yet been signed, but Hill said the document "was just a formality."

A Carter County grand jury met on Monday and returned a true bill on the charges against Willen. His first appearance in Criminal Court is set for Sept. 27.

When deputies arrived on the scene of the stabbing in Cash Hollow, they found McKinney had a stab wound that reportedly penetrated his heart. A second victim, whose identity has not been released, had several stab wounds that required immediate surgery.

Witnesses told deputies that the two juveniles had been involved in a physical altercation with Willen and another boy. After the stabbing, Willen and the other boy fled on foot.

Following a search, Sheriff Chris Mathes and Capt. Mike Little found Willen and the other boy inside an apartment on the Milligan Highway. The boys reportedly were covered in blood and had numerous scratches and cuts on their bodies.

The boys were interviewed by Investigator Jan Black and reportedly both admitted to being involved in an altercation with McKinney and the injured boy.

Related articles:

Judge releases name of 14-year-old accused of killing Happy Valley student

Happy Valley student dead after stabbed in chest and abdomen, one juvenile still in critical condition

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