Prosecutors: Failed voodoo led to murder-for-hire plot

Daniel Miller, already in jail on charges of Daniel Miller, already in jail on charges of sexually abusing a 17-year-old male employee, was charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill the teen to prevent him from testifying. (July 12, 2012) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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When voodoo didn't work, an Inwood man in jail on charges that he sexually abused a 17-year-old boy hired a hit man to silence the teen the old-fashioned way, prosecutors said.

Daniel Miller, 45, the owner of a Santeria religious supply store in Inwood, first asked a relative to stick pins and knives into a voodoo doll in a ritual intended to give the teen cancer, prosecutors said in a news release. But as his trial approached and the boy, a onetime employee of Miller's Mott Avenue store, remained healthy, he offered to pay a would-be hit man $15,000 to do the job, prosecutors and police said in a news conference.

Miller pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of second-degree conspiracy and second-degree criminal solicitation during his arraignment in Nassau County Court in Mineola.

He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Judge John Kase set bail at $5 million bond or $2.5 million cash. Miller is due back in court Aug. 1.

Miller's sister, Ann, 59, also of Inwood, called the allegations "ludicrous."

Miller's lawyer, Joseph Conway, of Mineola, also said there was more to the story.

Miller has been in the Nassau County jail since he was arrested on April 19 and is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting the teen, prosecutor Anne Donnelly said in court. Those charges are pending.

Prosecutors said in the release that the would-be hit man told detectives he had been approached by a relative of Miller's to visit Miller at the jail. During the visit, the man, who was not identified, said Miller asked him to arrange to have the alleged victim killed.

The man then went to Miller's home, where prosecutors said two of Miller's family members gave him documents containing the teen's personal information. The man then contacted police and met with Miller a second time at the jail.

At that meeting, Miller offered to pay him $15,000 to arrange the killing, prosecutors said. Miller told the man that Miller's mother, a secretary at Lawrence High School in Cedarhurst, which the alleged victim attended, had stolen the teen's records, prosecutors said.

In a brief phone interview, Mary Miller, 80, said she had taken the teen's picture out of his file to give to a private investigator she hired to look into her son's criminal case. Lawrence school officials could not be reached Thursday.

The sister said in an interview that she only asked the man, a family friend, to go to the jail to put $50 in her brother's commissary account.

Rice said the probe is ongoing and it's possible that other charges could be filed.

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