Man accused of setting fire to Tommy’s Red Hots in Crystal Lake detained in county jail pretrial

‘You all are going to die,’ he said, according to prosecutors

Brian M. Miller

A man accused of setting fire to Tommy’s Red Hots in Crystal Lake, causing more than $1,000 in damage, was ordered to be detained Wednesday while awaiting trial.

Daniel M. Miller, 30, is charged with aggravated arson, a Class X felony, as well as arson and criminal damage to property, according to the criminal complaint filed by Crystal Lake police in McHenry County court.

A conviction on a Class X felony can carry a prison term of between 30 and 60 years depending on the circumstances of the charge.

At a hearing Wednesday, Assistant State’s Attorney Cecilia Blue said that about 10:30 a.m. Monday, Miller was seen digging in the dumpster at the restaurant located at 363 W. Virginia St. The manager came outside and gave him food.

After he ate, Miller climbed up on a table outside the restaurant, danced on the table and urinated, exposing himself to those inside the restaurant, Blue said.

Miller then allegedly took off his sweatshirt, placed cigarettes on top of it, lit it on fire and sprayed sanitizer on it, accelerating the flames, the prosecutor said in court.

Miller then said, “You are all going to die,” Blue said.

Multiple patrons, including a child, as well as employees were inside the restaurant at the time, Blue said.

Blue also read a statement from Miller’s mother that said she’s afraid of him and believes he is dangerous. She said he would not follow the rules if released and that she wanted him to be detained.

Miller, according to the statement from his mother, has been diagnosed with mental health disorders and suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car crash in 2009.

His mother’s statement also said that about two years ago, Miller “threatened to chop them up,” referring to his parents.

Blue said Miller’s mother has tried to have her son involuntarily committed but because he has previous convictions on his record, she has not been able to.

Assistant Public Defender David Giesinger said he was “standing on the presumption in favor of pretrial release and the state’s burden to show by clear and convincing evidence that he is a threat.”

Wednesday was the second attempt at Miller’s detention hearing, required under the SAFE-T Act within 48 hours of an arrest.

On Tuesday, Miller continuously talked in a low whisper as the judge tried to explain his rights.

After requesting several times that Miller be quiet, McHenry County Chief Judge Michael Chmiel held Miller in contempt and sent him back to his cell.

Chmiel heard a couple other cases and tried to facilitate Miller’s hearing via Zoom from his cell, but Miller said he did not want to participate.

Miller, handcuffed, was quiet with his head hung low Wednesday.

Chmiel also sentenced Miller to 30 days in jail as a result of holding him in contempt.

Miller currently has two other open cases.

On Jan. 29, he was charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct and disorderly conduct for riding his bike south on Walkup Avenue, “weaving in and out of traffic while displaying an air soft gun,” according to the criminal complaint.

Those charges led to a motion to revoke his pretrial release on a case from 2023, when he was charged with unlawful failure to register as a violent offender.

Miller was ordered to register under the Child Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registration Act because he was convicted in 2013 in Kane County of aggravated battery of a minor, court records show.

As part of his newest case, Miller declined to participate in a pretrial services dangerousness evaluation, Chmiel said.

In detaining him, Chmiel said what he heard in court from Blue was “not only detailed, but concerning and alarming.”

“I cannot fathom a set of conditions” that would keep the public safe, he said.

Chmiel also acknowledged that Miller is “dealing with a lot” and wished him “the best of luck.”

Miller is due back in court Friday.

Northwest Herald reporter Claire O’Brien contributed to this report.