Judge approves fingerprint test for Timothy Doll, charged with DeKalb teen’s death

Gracie’s Day memorial event set for Sept. 14, organized by loved ones of slain teen Gracie Sasso-Cleveland

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.

SYCAMORE – A DeKalb County judge approved a request by prosecutors this week to order more fingerprint tests for Timothy M. Doll, charged in the May slaying of DeKalb teen Gracie Sasso-Cleveland.

On July 19, lead prosecutor Scott Schwertely filed a motion to compel a buccal swab, also known as a request to allow for investigators to collect fingerprint or DNA samples from Doll, charged with murder in the girl’s violent death.

In its motion, prosecutors seeks to match Doll’s fingerprints with ones investigators found on a laundry basket that the 15-year-old DeKalb High School freshman’s body was found in May 7, according to DeKalb County court records.

Circuit Court Judge Philip Montgomery approved the motion Wednesday, and continued Doll’s case until 9:30 a.m. Sept. 27. Doll, represented by his Yorkville-based defense lawyer Andrew Nickel told Montgomery he understood the proceedings Wednesday.

Once collected, DNA and fingerprints are sent to the Illinois State Police crime lab. Results could take several months to return, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

Prosecutors have alleged that Doll, 29, of DeKalb killed Sasso-Cleveland in retaliation after an argument ensued between the pair May 4. Doll also is accused of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with the teenager for months despite her being a minor and him being a registered sex offender twice her age.

Gracie Sasso-Cleveland poses outside in this undated photo. Gracie, 15, was found dead in a dumpster May 7, 2023. Timothy M. Doll, 29, of DeKalb, is charged with first-degree murder in her death.

Sasso-Cleveland’s death is at the center of first-degree murder charges against Doll. He’s accused of suffocating the girl to death May 4 after an argument at his apartment and then throwing her body in a laundry basket in a dumpster near his home in the 500 block of College Avenue.

DeKalb police didn’t find the girls’ body until three days later, on May 7, after Doll allegedly attempted to conceal her death. The DeKalb County Coroner’s Office ruled that she died from asphyxiation.

Doll pleaded not guilty to the charges June 15 despite county court records alleging he confessed to the slaying to police.

Doll was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, a Class M felony; aggravated criminal sexual abuse, concealment of homicidal death, aggravated domestic battery, two counts of obstructing justice, unlawful restraint and unlawful communication of a child sex offender.

If convicted, Doll – on probation at the time of the teenager’s death after he pleaded guilty less than a month before to a separate 2021 case of sexual assault of another child – could face 20 to 120 years in prison.

Sasso-Cleveland would have been 16 on Sept. 14, and her loved ones say they plan to honor her memory with a commemorative birthday party and public event that date. They’re dubbing it Gracie’s Day. Organizers have said they hope to have live music, a self-defense demonstration for women, speakers, informational booths and more. Country music band Southern Draw is set to perform.

Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact Bethany McCall through her Facebook group, Speak! and Save a Life #JusticeForGracie.

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