By Peter Nickeas and Liam Ford
11:36 AM EST, January 16, 2013
TwoCook County prosecutors have been suspended for failing to file charges against a man who had threatened to kill his family -- three months before he set them on fire, killing himself, his wife and one of his young children.
The prosecutors had declined to file felony charges against Nathaniel Beller, 29, in September after he was accused of filling a bathtub with gasoline and threatening to kill his family, according to a Cicero police report.
Cicero police officers said they forced their way into the apartment after negotiating with Beller to release his two children. At one point, Beller lit a cigarette while in the apartment, according to the police report.
An assistant state’s attorney interviewed Beller at the hospital and later informed police that no charges would be filed, according to a Cicero police report. Another prosecutor, according to the report, cited a “lack of evidence” and the lack of cooperation from Beller's wife Taniya as reasons for not approving felony charges.
Months later, shortly after being released from a mental health facility on Dec. 29, police say Beller poured gasoline on his two young children and his 33-year-old wife and set them on fire. Beller, his wife and his 4-year-old daughter Neriyah died. His son Naciere, 9, was critically injured.
The prosecutors received a 60-day suspension, said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the Cook County State's Attorney's office.
"My office has conducted a complete review of this matter and, as a result, I have ordered the unpaid suspension of two assistant state’s attorneys who were ultimately responsible for the charging decision that was made,” State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said in a statement.
"We must be accountable for our actions," she added.