INWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An already disturbing story has taken a new twist.
The owner of a religious supply store in New York City, who is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a teen employee, has also been charged with conspiring to kill the young man.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story
Daniel Miller, now 45, was accused in April of giving the 17-year-old employee a drink that was spiked with the amnesia-producing anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam and then sexually abusing the teen inside his Botanica store in Inwood.
The alleged victim said he came to the next morning inside his employer’s house.
The store sells Santeria, Voodoo and African religious supplies.
While the alleged sex assault took place back in January, Miller was arrested at his house in April. He was charged with a criminal sex act.
His attorney said the act was consensual and Miller denied drugging the teen.
Miller has served time for forgery and pleaded guilty years ago to sex abuse charges, authorities said.
Thursday, the case took another twist.
Miller was arraigned on one count of conspiracy and one count of criminal solicitation, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. Miller is now accused of trying to pay someone $15,000 to kill his alleged sexual assault victim to keep him from testifying.
Rice said Nassau detectives were tipped off in June to the alleged plot. Rice said a “confidential source” was asked by Miller’s family to visit Miller in jail. That’s when, Rice said, the source was asked to arrange the death of the alleged sexual assault victim. Miller allegedly offered to pay $15,000 to have the victim killed in what appeared to be a cell phone robbery.
“The original sex crime case is bad enough, but now with Miller trying to do away with his victim, it’s shocking,” Detective Lt. John May told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
Miller also allegedly asked a relative to see to it that a Voodoo doll of his victim be made and knives and pins be stuck into it. Miller also wanted a photo of the alleged victim to be used in a ritual intended to give the alleged victim cancer.
At Miller’s home, which is equipped with high-tech security cameras and gates, neighbors said the alleged plot doesn’t surprise them.
“He’d rather do evil than do good. He’s a smart guy; he just does things the hard way,” one person told CBS 2’s Gusoff.
The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges against additional suspects, including Miller’s family members, may be filed, investigators said. Miller’s mother, who lives with him, works as a Lawrence High School secretary. Police said the teen’s school records were used in the plot, CBS 2’s Gusoff reported.
“Despite the devastating trauma the victim was put through at the hands of this defendant, Daniel Miller decided that it still wasn’t enough,” Rice said. “When murder-for-hire plots come to light, it is essential that law enforcement move quickly to ensure the safety of the intended victim and the arrest of the person pulling the strings.”
Miller, who was taken to a hospital after his court appearance Thursday complaining of chest pains, is being held on $5 million bond. He already faces up to 25 years if convicted of the charges related to the alleged sex abuse, and now faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the murder-for-hire plot. His attorney, Joseph Conway, said none of the accusations are true.
“He had no intent to kill a victim. This was manufactured by the district attorney’s witness and not by Mr. Miller,” Conway told CBS 2’s Gusoff.
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