Illinois man who set fire killing woman, injured two kids dies

Raquel Erhard – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Chicago, IL, United States (4E) – A 29-year-old man who allegedly started a fire that resulted to the death of a woman and severely burned two of her children in Chicago, Illinois early Saturday has died from his injuries Sunday.

According to a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner’s office, Nathaniel Beller has been declared dead at 12:10 p.m. at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital where he succumbed to injuries obtained from the fire that happened at West 21st Place in Lawndale.

Officials said Beller has been accused of setting the fire that caused 33-year-old Taniya Johnson to die and left her two children, four-year-old Nariya Beller and nine-year-old Naciere Beller, critically injured.

Nariya was reportedly burned over her entire body and Naciere sustained burns on 35 percent of his body. Both children remained in critical condition.

Police believed Beller poured an accelerant over his girlfriend and the two children before he started the fire.

The Chicago Tribune reported that two women, aged 60 and 84, were also transported in fair-to-serious condition to Saint Anthony Hospital.

An autopsy report stated an accelerant was involved in the death of Johnson, who also suffered multiple stab wounds and her death has been ruled a homicide, said the medical examiner’s office.

Authorities claimed an empty gas can was recovered behind the home and the incident was being investigated as arson.

Court records revealed Beller has been convicted of domestic battery against the victim, and had an order of protection entered against him in the case. He was arrested in 2003 and 2004, on domestic battery charges, but both cases were dismissed.

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