* 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?