Man threatened to set fire to family in Sept.; State’s Attorney orders review

The Cook County state’s attorney orders a complete review into how a man was able to set his girlfriend, her two kids, and himself on fire.

Nathaniel Beller, Taniya Johnson and one of their children were killed in a fire allegedly set by Beller last week in a Lawndale apartment.  Another child is badly burned.

A police report shows back on September 9th, he filled a bathtub in his Cicero apartment with gasoline and threatened to torch the children.

Cicero police managed to negotiate the safe release of his children and took the mentally ill Beller into custody. There were no charges.  Johnson failed to file a complaint.
Prosecutors with the Cook County State’s attorney decided against felony charges.  That decision is now being questioned by the Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

In a written statement released late today, Alvarez said ” I have serious questions and concerns about how this case was reviewed for felony charges relating to the Sept. 9 incident involving defendant Nathaniel Beller.  This case is a horrific tragedy involving the extremely complicated and challenging crime of domestic violence and the troubling and increasing prevalence of mental illness in criminal defendants.  We are carefully reviewing how police, prosecutors and child welfare agencies responded.

This matter will be reviewed in its entirety and if individuals in this office need to be held accountable for their judgment that will certainly occur.”

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12 comments

  • JOHN

    IT IRRELEVANT THAT THE GIRLFRIEND JOHNSON REFUSED TO SIGN A COMPLAINT. ANITA ALVAREZ AND HER STATE'S ATTORNEYS OFFICE ON A REGULAR BASIS PROSECUTE MALE OFFENDERS WHEN THE FEMALE COMPLAINING WITNESS REFUSES TO TESTIFY. NORMALLY, THE OFFICER SIGNS THE COMPLAINT ON BEHALF OF THE VICTIM AND THE STATE'S ATTORNEY CALLS HER AS A WITNESS. ALVAREZ HAS FAILED TO PROTECT INNOCENT MEN CONVICTED OF MURDER AND SENTENCED TO EXTENDED PRISON TIME AND NOW A WOMAN AND HER CHILD. I GUESS IF ANITA ALVAREZ WOULD HAD FOUND DNA ON THIS CRAZED ANIMAL SHE WOULD HAVE MADE SURE HE WAS CHARGED WITH A FELONY DOMESTIC OR UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT BEFORE THIS CLOWN TOOK THE LIVES OF INNOCENT PEOPLE. I AM SORRY ANITA ALVAREZ DOES NOT BELIEVE DNA IS SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE AS SHE EXPRESSED ON 60 MINUTES

    • Jackie

      I couldn't have said it better. It was a crime pure and simple and should not have been left up to Johnson to file a complaint, it was the laziness and pure disregard for this family by the State's Attorney's office. The second ball that got dropped was that these children were not in their parent's custody , but that of a foster parent who was supposed to be supervising the visit on the day they were killed, instead that person just dropped them off and left, DCFS needs to also review their policy on who should be with the children when they are on these visits, should it be a private citizen ? or should there be a facility where they come in and visit in a place where there are professionals to watch over them, especially in this instance where threats had already been made on their lives 3 months earlier.

  • CPARKER

    WE NEED TO START BEING ACCOUNTABLE FOR OUR ACTIONS. IT STARTS WITH US. WHERE WAS FAMILY? THIS DID NOT JUST START. FOLLOW THE TRAIL BACKWARDS. THAT PINK ELEPHANT DID NOT JUST WALK INTO THE ROOM.

    • Julie

      The real problem is this offender has a severe mental illness and was left untreated after his prior threats to harm other people. In the state I live in, the bathtub with gasoline is more than enough to committ someone involuntarily to a psychiatric hospital. The reason these tragic acts occur is because there is never enough focus on treating the problem before the unspeakable happens.

  • Mandy

    The problem in this area is usually getting the prosecutors office to press the charges. Difficult job for the officers to convince them of the crime & problem so help can also be provided.

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