More phone records subpoenaed from Timothy Doll, accused in Gracie Sasso-Cleveland killing

Doll, now 30, awaits expected murder trial almost a year after brutal slaying of DeKalb High School freshman, 15

A display remembering Gracie Sasso-Cleveland is set up Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, at the Sycamore Community Sports Complex during a celebration of her life on what would have been her sweet 16 birthday. Sasso-Cleveland, 15, was found dead May 7, 2023, in DeKalb. Timothy M. Doll, 29, of DeKalb, is charged with first-degree murder in her death.

SYCAMORE – More of Timothy Doll’s phone records have been subpoenaed as prosecutors gather evidence for an expected jury trial for a DeKalb man charged in the brutal killing of 15-year-old Gracie Sasso-Cleveland almost a year ago, court officials said Wednesday.

Doll, now 30, of DeKalb, appeared virtually from the DeKalb County Jail in front of Circuit Court Judge Philip Montgomery on Wednesday. In custody without bond since his May 7, 2023, arrest, Doll previously pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges in the case despite county court records alleging he confessed to police that he killed Sasso-Cleveland, a DeKalb High School freshman.

Scott Schwertley of the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office, who is leading the prosecution, said Wednesday that DeKalb police subpoenaed Doll’s phone records as part of an ongoing effort to gather evidence.

“There were recently a couple more search warrants by the police for some phone records of Mr. Doll’s,” Schwertley said to Montgomery. “We hope by the next date that discovery will be completed. It is mostly completed, but we are just waiting for some returns for that [subpoena].”

Loved ones have remembered Sasso-Cleveland as kind, a member of DeKalb High School’s orchestra who taught herself how to play the piano, a video game player and an artist who loved animals. Family and friends hosted an event they dubbed “Gracie’s Day” in September to mark what would have been the teen’s sweet 16 birthday.

Timothy M. Doll, 29, of DeKalb, (left) and his attorney Andrew Nickel listen as Circuit Court Judge Philip Montgomery reads the charges against him Wednesday, June 14, 2023, at the DeKalb County Courthouse. Doll is being arraigned on several charges including two counts of first-degree murder in the death of 15-year-old Gracie Sasso-Cleveland of DeKalb.

Represented by Yorkville-based special defense attorney Andrew Nickel, Doll did not speak during the hearing.

Doll is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, concealment of a homicide, aggravated domestic battery, unlawful restraint, unlawful communication by a child sex offender and two counts of obstruction of justice, court records show. If convicted, he faces 20 years to life in prison.

Sasso-Cleveland’s mother, Ericka Sasso, reported her missing May 6, 2023. The teen’s body was found by police May 7. The teenager, last seen with Doll, died the night of May 4, according to court records.

Prosecutors have alleged that Doll, a registered sex offender at the time of the slaying, was in an inappropriate and illegal relationship with Sasso-Cleveland, a girl half his age. He is accused of suffocating Sasso-Cleveland with a pillow for three minutes before putting her body in a laundry basket and discarding it in a dumpster near his DeKalb apartment on College Avenue on May 4, 2023, according to court records. Doll allegedly told DeKalb police he argued with the teenager before the attack.

Doll then called paramedics for help after he injured his back lifting the girl’s body, court records allege.

Prosecutors also have alleged Doll attempted to conceal the killing from police, telling investigators he hadn’t seen the girl since the previous day, hiding Sasso-Cleveland’s clothes in the apartment building basement and throwing her cellphone in the trash at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, according to court records.

The DeKalb County Coroner’s Office ruled she died from asphyxiation, according to a news release from the DeKalb Police Department.

Montgomery also has ordered, at prosecutors’ requests, tests of Doll’s fingerprints and DNA swabs.

Doll is next ordered to appear for a status hearing at 9:30 a.m. May 1, three days shy of the one-year date that Sasso-Cleveland died.

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