Alleged Arsonist Threatened to Kill Kids Before

Nathaniel Beller not charged after September standoff with Cicero Police

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Firefighters respond to the fire that took the lives of three people Saturday in the Lawndale neighborhood. Police believe one of the victims, Nathaniel Beller, set the fire intentionally.

    A man accused of intentionally setting a fire that killed his daughter and girlfriend last week had threatened to do the same thing before.

    According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Nathaniel Beller was not charged four months ago after threatening to set his two children on fire, prompting a standoff with Cicero Police officers.

    Beller, 29, was the main suspect in an early-morning fire at a home in Lawndale Saturday that killed his girlfriend, 33-year-old Taniya Johnson and their daughter, 4-year-old daughter Neriyah. Police sources say Beller, who died a day after the fire, used an accelerant to intentionally set the fire and doused his family with the liquid. The couple's 9-year-old son was critically injured with severe burns.

    It's eerily similar to the Sept. 9 incident in which police say Beller filled a bathtub with gasoline and throughout the house, but didn't light it.

    The Sun-Times reports Beller was freed following a psychiatric evaluation, and not charged by the Cook County State’s Attorney office because his girlfriend refused to sign a criminal complaint.

    A Cicero spokesman told the newspaper that the police department's efforts to seek felony charges against Beller in September were rejected by the State's Attorney office.

    The children were reportedly not supposed to be staying with their parents after being removed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.