An Inwood man pleaded guilty Tuesday to plotting to kill a teenage employee of his religious supplies store to keep the youth from testifying that he had sexually abused him.
Daniel Miller, 47, agreed to accept a term of 9 years in prison followed by 10 years of post-release supervision in return for his plea of guilty to committing a criminal sex act, conspiracy and grand larceny.
Sentencing was scheduled for June 4 before Judge Angelo Delligatti, who accepted the plea. Prosecutors said they had recommended 18 years in prison, and Miller could have gotten up to 25 years in prison if convicted at trial.
Defense attorney William Shanahan said he thought the prosecution case "had a lot of uncertainties," and a plea "was the right outcome for everyone involved."
In addition to the murder plot, Miller admitted to running four bogus-check scams that entailed writing at least a dozen forged checks totaling almost $200,000, prosecutors said.
Miller, the owner of a Santeria religious-supply store on Mott Avenue, was arrested in 2012 and charged with drugging and sexually assaulting a male employee, who was 17 at the time.
He admitted to the assault Tuesday in County Court in Mineola and said he offered to pay $15,000 to a supposed hit man to kill the youngster.
Police said at the time that the would-be hit man told detectives he had been approached by a relative of Miller's to visit Miller at the county jail in East Meadow, where he was being held on bail of $5 million bond or $2.5 million cash.
The man, who was not identified, said that during the jail visit Miller asked him to arrange to have the alleged victim killed, police said.
Miller's sister, Ann, and his mother, Mary, were charged with misdemeanor conspiracy and were given conditional discharges after pleading guilty, Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.
Police said at the time that Miller approached the teen on his first day of employment in April 2012 and gave him a drink containing Lorazepam, an anti-anxiety drug that slows brain activity and can cause drowsiness and dizziness.
"Mr. Miller drugged and then sexually assaulted a teenage employee, and when arrested for his crimes, conspired to kill his victim," Singas said.
"Thanks to the diligence of law enforcement, this defendant's attempts to permanently silence his victim were not successful, and today's guilty plea will ensure that he will be held accountable for his repeated disregard for the law," she said.
Officials said that after his arrest, Miller asked a relative to stick pins and knives into a voodoo doll in a ritual intended to give the teen cancer, prosecutors said, but as his trial approached and the youth remained healthy, he offered to pay the would-be hit man to do the job.
Shanahan said the hit man was never paid, which would have made a conspiracy charge difficult to prove at trial.