SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Priorities, please

Thursday, Jan 3, 2013

* This is just too much

An alleged arsonist accused of setting a fire that killed his girlfriend and daughter on the West Side last week threatened almost exactly the same deed just three months ago.

Nathaniel Beller filled his bathtub with gasoline and threatened to torch his 4-year-old daughter Neriyah and 9-year-old son Naciere during a tense standoff with Cicero Police on Sept. 9, but neither police nor the Cook County State’s Attorney charged him.

Quickly freed after a psychiatric evaluation, the career criminal allegedly made good on his chilling threat at his mom’s house Saturday. Chicago Police say the mentally ill 29-year-old poured an accelerant on both children and their mother, Taniya Johnson, then started a fire that claimed the lives of Neriyah and Johnson as well as his own.

The troubling new details about how authorities handled Beller’s case emerged Wednesday as his orphaned son continued to fight for his life at Stroger Hospital with burns covering 35 percent of his body.

According to a Cicero Police report, Johnson — who had been beaten by Beller — dialed 911 from her workplace on the afternoon of Sept. 9, telling police that a suicidal Beller was threatening to kill their kids.

Officers arriving at Johnson’s apartment in the 4900 block of West 14th Street heard screaming children, smelled gas and found a distraught Beller barricaded inside, claiming that his girlfriend had cheated on him.

Though Beller released the children unharmed to police during a fraught negotiation — and later claimed he had never planned to hurt them — police found a cigarette lighter and his bathtub filled with gas when they forced their way in and arrested him.

Worse still, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that Naciere’s socks were soaked with gasoline — a sign that he had likely been placed in the tub filled with fuel.

So, let me get this straight. A 60-something stewardess and a 60-something state legislator get caught accidentally bringing guns through O’Hare security and they’re charged with felonies and a grand jury is empaneled in one case. But a guy who fills a bathtub with gasoline and threatens to torch his kids walks free without being charged by the state’s attorney?

What in the heck is going on over there?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


31 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:18 am:

    I wonder how Ray Hanania will spin this.


  2. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    I remember that incident. I remember being dismayed that no charges were filed.

    Note to SA Alvarez. Inactions have consequences.


  3. - Quinn T. Sential - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:27 am:

    What relevance does the age of the gun law violators have in this discussion. While I understand the questions and concerns about the man and the obvious child endangerment, are you suggesting that gun law violators should be treated differently based on their age?


  4. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:27 am:

    One word: guns.

    If Beller had a gun and threatened to shoot his wife and kids there would have been more serious repercussions.

    This is what us “gun nuts” mean when we say that it’s the madness, and not the method, that matters….


  5. - wishbone - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:28 am:

    Obviously you should need a FOIA card to buy gasoline.


  6. - mythoughtis - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:30 am:

    I definitely see the difference between unintentionally carrying an unloaded firearm somewhere that no one else would also have known about, so no real harm could have resulted (provided we can prove the unintentional part)…

    and the intended (abliet insane) harm that could have been (and eventually resulted) done due to gasoline and lighters in an open bathtub with children as the target.

    I agree we should spent our time, focus, and legal efforts against things that are intended to harm rather than things that were not and would not have been.


  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:34 am:

    In no way a defense of Cicero cops and the SA, I’ve noticed an increased vigilance in airport security over the last 11 years or so.

    I wouldn’t recommend walking through O’Hare with a full gasoline can and lighter, either.


  8. - amalia - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:36 am:

    who was in charge of Felony Review when the rejection happened and who is in charge of Felony Review now? You are under a big microscope, ASA FRU Sup. also, a victim who does not cooperate makes cases difficult. always been that way. try dealing with domestic violence cases. it is heartbreaking.


  9. - soccermom - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:37 am:

    This is horrific and inexcusable.


  10. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:37 am:

    I am sure her office decided the explanation they came up with that he was just doing is own dry cleaning at home was correct…

    (Yes, people did do this at one time)


  11. - Fire Anita Alvarez - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:38 am:

    And the Chicago Tribune endorsed Anita for re-election.


  12. - Fair Share - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    Lame excuses. The SA office has already tried to spin this with the lame excuse that the girl friend did not sign a complaint. Based on the facts as stated above, the police and SA can charge without a signed complaint. Sheesh, we spend millions police patrols but when we have a suspect in custody we do nothing.


  13. - the Patriot - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    What surprises is me is that it took this tragedy for to figure out there are problems with law enforcement and prosecution in Chicago. 8-12 people will be shot and killed in the next 7 days in Chicago and their answer is to take guns from people living hundreds of miles away. It is fairly obvious that Chicago has a serious Law enforcement problem.

    On one hand I feel bad, but until the citizens of Chicago put security over political cronisims and they will continue to be subject failed policies of Chicago politicians.

    It FOID comment is a bit tongue in cheek, but it does show that you don’t need a gun to commit a horrible crime. Bad people will find other ways to cause harm. Pehaps had the mother been allowed to carry a .380 this doesn’t happen. Obviously relying on law enforcement did her no good.


  14. - downstate commissioner - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:48 am:

    Sorry, Rich, my removed comment was pretty inflammatory, but there should be some punishment for somebody ignoring the obvious threat from the arsonist, especially considering the nature of the threat. Being burned alive is just terrifying to me. And the thought that someone might accidentally might carry a gun on an airplane doesn’t bother me at all. Rich, I think you summed it up completely: “What the heck is going on over there?”


  15. - Wumpus - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    Tragic! Was it lazy police work, lazy prosecutors? I would like an answer why no charges were filed. I thought there were rules in place so that the abused woman did not have to press charges?


  16. - haverford - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    I don’t know much about the particulars of this case, but I think it’s important to think about in the context of domestic violence. Unfortunately, a large number of DV cases fall through the cracks in our system, even though DV is the leading cause of injury to women in the US.

    This clearly seems to be a ‘fall down on the job’ situation for the police and State’s atty, but there are less flashy cases like this all the time - partner threatens, no action is taken, partner injures or kills partner.

    And, in a case of excellent timing, the Violence Against Women Act was just allowed to expire by the US House. So there’s that.


  17. - StayFree75 - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:56 am:

    And while you’re at it, start prosecuting all of the vindictive folks who are wasting DCFS resources and taking time away from kids who actually need help by making false reports to DCFS! First offense was made a felony in 2012, and this abuse of the system is rampant! Start prosecuting!


  18. - walkinfool - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:11 am:

    Hmm.

    I heard someone say that the political surprise of 2013, would be more public scrutiny of how prosecutors were doing their jobs.

    And so it starts. Good!


  19. - Don't Get It - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    Rich, of course this is awful. More should have been done. But why the comparison to the gun at the airport incident? Just because this is an awful thing and should have been handled better and with more legal muscle does not mean the gun at the airport thing should have been handled lighter. You bring a gun to an airport, you deserve the penalty. Sorry I don’t think that belongs in this conversation.


  20. - Fan of the Game - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    Truly an abdication of duty on the part of the public officials. Yes, what exactly are the priorities?


  21. - cassandra - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:32 am:

    According to a recent article in the Trib, DCFS took custody of the children in September, not clear what happened after that, so perhaps the juvenile division of the Cook County SA got involved even if the criminal division did not. The children appear to have been released to the mother at some point-presumably either by judge’s order or some other mechanism.

    Given the results, the whole Cook County system seems to have failed these children. Let’s hope there is an independent investigation of all of the relevant parties’ decision-making. This would include domestic violence service providers as well as police, ASA, and DCFS.


  22. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:52 am:

    The first incident wasn’t Chicago. It was Cicero. Different municipality. Which makes me wonder if this is something that dropped through the cracks of different police offices.

    The other thing is that in instances of domestic violence it is not at all uncommon for the victim not to want to file charges against her assailant. And without someone to file, and with an uncooperative witness, it makes it hard for prosecution to succeed.


  23. - onevoter - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    I understand the reason for stating the airport gun incidents. Hard prosecutions for apparently unintended actions versus lack of follow-up in an volatile situation. This from the same SA who totally embarrassed herself on national TV.


  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 12:02 pm:

    ===And without someone to file, and with an uncooperative witness, it makes it hard for prosecution to succeed. ===

    You have a 911 call on tape, a tense police standoff and a bathtub full of gasoline.

    Seems like a no-brainer to me, despite what the witness now says.


  25. - Quinn T. Sential - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    You also have a gun; with a loaded magazine, in a suit case knowingly packed in the suitcase by the registered owner, who attempted to bring the same suitcase that he knowingly packed the gun in onto an airplane.


  26. - Belle - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 12:27 pm:

    The CDP seem to complain a lot about these same types of issues: they catch historically bad people and they are let go or the case is mis-handled.
    It seems that Ms Alvarez (or someone) is playing pretty fast and loose with legal priorities.


  27. - Sophocles - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 1:05 pm:

    === The other thing is that in instances of domestic violence it is not at all uncommon for the victim not to want to file charges against her assailant. And without someone to file, and with an uncooperative witness, it makes it hard for prosecution to succeed. ===

    === Seems like a no-brainer to me, despite what the witness now says. ===

    Cermak and others seem to have missed the point. According to the Sun-Times, the mom was at work — not in the apartment — when she called 911 to report her children’s lives were being threatened.

    It was the children, not the mom, who were endangered, so the comparison to domestic violence cases seems apples-to-oranges.


  28. - jimbo (jf) - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    This is a horrible situation and the people responsible for this failure to protect those most in need of our protection should be punished.

    That said. How did this turn into an opportunity for drive-by anti-gun-control comments form 1/2 of the NRA?? How did a question (to me) about how the state had the resources to move so quickly & with maximum publicity in those 2 gun cases while apparently being paralyzed in this case. Turn into a gun-control question. It’s what happened to that family and how to prevent it from happening again that we should be addressing.


  29. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 1:08 pm:

    ===How did this turn into an opportunity for drive-by anti-gun-control comments form 1/2 of the NRA??===

    Agreed. I’ve been deleting recent posts. I think I’ll go back and delete all of them now. Ridiculous arguments.


  30. - Irish - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    First of all I want to qualify that this is not an anti gun control drive-by. However isn’t this an example of what the real problem is?

    Our lawmakers and leaders are more intent on a specific agenda, something that can be boxed uo neatly wrapped and presented as a solution that allows them to say they did something, rather than getting really serious and looking into a real solution? We focus on the tools, or weapons, but overlook the act and what led up to the act being committed and are there other things we can be doing to prevent the act from happening again. We want a one size fits all solution so we don’t have to take the time and sweat to truly find a solution.
    One size does not fit all, and we need to make adjustments in our mental health systems, in our laws, and in our courts, that allows for some common sense application of justice so that these incidents happen less frequently.


  31. - Chitownhv - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 8:26 pm:

    Someone is finally paying attention: http://www.suntimes.com/17373010-761/responding-to-sun-times-story-of-dads-threat-to-burn-kids-alvarez-launches-investigation.html


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* We interrupt this break for a special announcement...
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Afternoon updates
* Stop the satellite TV tax!
* *** UPDATED 1x *** Twitter suspends parody account @peoriamayor
* Lesson learned: Don't 'Leave'
* Fitch affirms Illinois GO Bond rating
* BGA: Rauner firm holds state contracts; political round-up
* Question of the Day
* CAPTION CONTEST!
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition: first impressions on a revived classic
        * Hands On With Facebook's Nearby Friends
        * Our favourite 5 new Windows Phone apps of the week
        * Nike Layoffs Add Fuel to Apple iWatch Rumors
        * Nike Says The FuelBand Isn’t Dead, New Color Options Coming
        * Beats Music Gets In-App Subscriptions, Beefs Up Free Streaming Options
        * Nokia Lumia Instagramer of the Week: Sigrid Sohm

        * Five Best Text Editors
        * Writebox Is a Minimalistic Notepad That Syncs With Dropbox
        * Thin film electronics may hold the key to human size health care
        * Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
        * A 3D-Printed Ultrasound Cast That Looks Awesome and Heals You Faster
        * Beats Bites the Bullet, and Starts Selling Subscriptions From Apple’s App
        * Nike Fires Majority of FuelBand Team, Will Stop Making Wearable Hardware

        * Adam Eaton flirts with death, then strains hamstring
        * Prospect Johnson proving 2013 wasn't a fluke
        * Rangers 6, White Sox 3: Rallies stall to extend skid
        * Quintana, White Sox lose touch in rough fourth inning
        * Eaton exits game after collision with Fielder
        * Eaton exits game with mild hamstring strain
        * Paulino goes on DL with rotator cuff inflammation


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Quinn grants 43 clemency petitions..
        * Quinn: New controls after Medicaid paid for dead..
        * Governor Quinn Wants New Medicaid Controls..
        * States target tiny beads in facial cleansers th.....
        * State law on hospital exemption sends property .....
        * Races to Watch in 2014..


        * Chicagoan to run 35th straight Boston Marathon
        * US Sen. Durbin says he's taking Oberweis seriously
        * 5 killed, 22 wounded in Chicago shootings
        * NASA: Engineer vital to moon landing success dies
        * Chicago man killed in Salt Lake City stabbing
        * Ill. GOP officials who wanted Brady out replaced
        * Gov. Quinn backs state spending for Obama library
        * Quinn: New controls after Medicaid paid for dead
        * $14M awarded in suit linking contraceptive, stroke
        * $14M awarded in lawsuit linking pill to stroke

        * Addiction experts: Illinois budget cuts could hurt drug treatment
        * Comptroller Topinka reports $125K in income
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Durbin, Oberweis spar over earmarks, minimum wage
        * Statehouse Insider: It doesn’t always add up in the General Assembly
        * Chicago casino plan draws more support at legislative hearing
        * Video gaming may get its own exclusion list
        * U of I officials seeking to prevent retirement rush
        * U of I asks state legislators to prevent retirement rush; could affect 200 at UIS
        * 2015 tax rates still far from settled
        * Strip club tax brings in much less than expected

        * Census: People are leaving all six Chicago-area counties
        * Trixie and Chad have kids!
        * Quinn administration funds Diana Rauner's nonprofit
        * Why Lenovo's Moto bid is looking smarter
        * Ignoring Shakespeare's butcher, law firm advises how to cut legal bills


        * Apparent inmate suicide investigated at Lake County Jail
        * City sends bike cops into high-crime neighborhoods
        * Newborn found dead in Northwest Side gangway
        * Husband and wife — both law enforcement officers — dead in apparent murder-suicide: police
        * 5 dead, 22 wounded in shootings since Friday evening
        * 7 dead, 22 wounded in shootings since Friday evening
        * 5 dead, 19 wounded in shootings since Friday evening
        * 5 dead, 21 people shot in 24 hours
        * Cardinal’s exemplary courage, grace
        * Painful North Side CTA bypass is right move for the future


        * Husband and wife -- both officers -- found shot to death in Garfield Ridge home
        * Cops: 5 dead, 13 others injured in shootings
        * Body of newborn boy found in Logan Square gangway
        * Boy, 16, shot on South Side
        * Geneva kayak trip turns fatal


        * Illinois Finally Gets 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver
        * U Of I: Illinois Pension Overhaul Had Costly Mistake
        * Fish fry dinners bring food, community to Catholics during Lent
        * Listen To State Week - April 18, 2014
        * Murray Center Advocates Win Appeals Decision
        * Employment Improves, But Illinois Still Lags U.S.
        * Nine Illinois lawmakers vote to fund Obama library - but only five members in attendance
        * WBEZ's Student Stories
        * Interview: John Tinker & The Landmark Case On Students' Right To Free Speech
        * State Legislation Hints At Marijuana Legalization


        * Our Opinion: Don’t drag feet on drone regulation
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Durbin, Oberweis spar over earmarks, minimum wage
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Durbin, Oberweis spar over earmarks, minimum wage
        * Statehouse Insider: It doesn’t always add up in the General Assembly
        * Statehouse Insider: It doesn’t always add up in the General Assembly
        * Armenta L. Johnson: Advocate for quality education to avoid segregation
        * Catherine Walters: Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault notes anniversary, awareness month
        * Video gaming may get its own exclusion list
        * U of I asks state legislators to prevent retirement rush; could affect 200 at UIS
        * Quinn grants 43 clemency requests


        * Divorces 4/20/14
        * Murphysboro to honor Weber with community service award
        * Waste oil collected as fundraiser
        * Augustana holds Summer Academy for high school students
        * All together: Easter service at Bald Knob Cross unites people of many denominations
        * Clinton marathon set along riverfront
        * HIV cases are on the rise in Southern Illinois
        * Wigs, hats and hope: Cancer Care Closet helps women feel better
        * Will Madison County enterprise zone get extension?
        * Neighborhood watch: Crimes of the week


        * The 10th District money race
        * Aurora Democrat calls out IHSA
        * Lawyers: Ill. hazing law vague, unconstitutional
        * Ill. House OKs lower-cost hunting bill for seniors
        * Quinn’s running mate takes new consulting job

        * Lipinski seeks artistic submissions - The ...
        * Lemont VFW honors Vietnam veterans - Subur...
        * Lipinski Votes to Protect the Paychecks of...
        * Meet the 8 House Dems who don't co-sponsor...
        * Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: In this ca...
        * Rep. Lipinski Honors Vietnam Vets on House...
        * Southwest Airlines Adding 9 Non-Stop Daily...
        * Lipinski Announces Southwest will Start Fl...
        * Lipinski Thanks Voters for Support in Unco...
        * Rep. Aaron Schock in Japan, China, South K...

        * Loading Koch Industries Website Too Many T......
        * Maryland and DC among worst for food aller......
        * Cleveland State University to reestablish ......
        * Convicted political boss Al Sanchez runnin......
        * Candidates make last filings for local, st......

        * Illinois Lt. Gov. Simon opposes pension le......
        * Dillard Odd Man Out on Pension Deal Reaction...
        * Sen. Mark Kirk sides with Rauner on pensio......
        * Governor's race infighting threatens pensi......
        * SCHOONERS - Home of Everyone's Favorite Be......

        * GTCR is Rauner’s Bain Capital. So Squeezy gives him a state contract. Shaking up Springfield?
        * Sunday book review section. This is Not a Test.
        * The Library of Congress Pkwy?
        * Sen. Mark Kirk pokes at Eric Holder: Did NSA spy on Congress?
        * Democratic National Committee Executive Committee meeting in Chicago June 8
        * Emily's List hits Chicago June 27: Sebelius, Lisa Madigan, Neely, Finney to speak
        * Feinstein, Chambliss defend phone data snooping to "keep the homeland safe." Durbin has concerns. UPDATED
        * President Obama official schedule and guidance June 6, 2013. North Carolina, California
        * Verizon phone records secretly collected by the National Security Agency
        * Obama to tap genocide fighter, Pulitzer Prize winner Samantha Power to become new United Nations Ambassador


        * Governor Quinn Announces Investments to Conserve Lake Michigan Shoreline - Visits Volunteer Beach Clean-up to Announce Investments That Will Support Environmental Education and Stewardship Projects
        * Governor Pat Quinn Takes Clemency Action
        * Proposed Rules for Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act Filed
        * Adopt-A-Highway Spring Cleanup Begins Today - Annual Event Honors Earth Day, Tackles Roadside Litter After Harsh Winter
        * Illinois Schools Win No Child Left Behind Waiver - Federal Government Approves Flexibility Needed for Successful Implementation of State Strategies to Improve Student Learning




            Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller