Public defender appointed for teen accused in Carter County stabbing death

John Thompson • Sep 27, 2013 at 9:18 PM

ELIZABETHTON - Nicholas Willen, a 15-year-old who will be tried as an adult on a second-degree murder charge, was arraigned in Carter County Criminal Court on Friday.

Willen is accused of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of 16-year-old Elijah McKinney on Dec. 16, 2012 in Cash Hollow. He is also charged with attempted second-degree murder in the assault on another teen. Willen's case was transferred to Criminal Court following a hearing before Juvenile Judge John Walton on Aug. 16.

In Friday's appearance, Judge Stacy Street ordered the public defender's office to handle Willen's case. Street also ordered Willen to remain on house arrest. He may only go out in public when accompanied by a parent or guardian. Street also ordered the boy return to school. He has not been to school since his arrest.

The next court date for Willen is set for Dec. 4.

The case began in Juvenile Court after Willen was arrested the morning following the stabbing. 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 stories:

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

Teen accused in Carter County killing to be tried as adult

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