DNA leads to arrest in Urbana attack

DNA leads to arrest in Urbana attack

URBANA — A registered sex offender from Urbana who allegedly attacked a woman in Urbana last fall remains jailed on a half-million dollars bond.

Urbana police linked John Danny Miller, 36, whose last known address was in the 200 block of South Hartle Avenue, to a Nov. 13 attack on a woman through DNA found on a cigarette butt.

Miller was arraigned Friday in Champaign County Circuit Court for attempted criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and aggravated battery.

Urbana police Sgt. Dan Morgan said about 2:40 p.m. that day, the 24-year-old woman was walking in the 500 block of West California Avenue and was talking on her cellphone when she heard someone running behind her.

She turned and saw a naked man coming toward her. He grabbed her around the face and the two struggled as he tried to cover her mouth.

During the struggle, he thrust his pelvis into her, Morgan said, accounting for the sex-related charges.

The woman told police that there was an idling sport utility vehicle nearby and that she believed he was going to drag her to it. She was able to break away and get home, where she called for help.

Morgan said police found a fresh cigarette butt in snow near where the attack happened.

The woman's description of the attacker and the vehicle license plate led police quickly to Miller, a registered sex offender.

He was interviewed a couple of days after the attack but gave alibis, Morgan said.

Last week, the state crime lab alerted Urbana police that the DNA found on the cigarette butt matched Miller's DNA profile. Morgan said Miller came to the police department Thursday to be interviewed and was arrested then.

Because of a 2002 conviction for aggravated criminal sexual assault from Cook County, Miller was required to register as a sex offender. The Illinois Sex Offender Registry said he was 24 at the time and his victim was 18. Morgan characterized the details of the 2002 attack as being similar to the Urbana attack.

Judge John Kennedy set Miller's bond at $500,000 and ordered him to have no contact with the alleged victim.

If he is convicted of the charges filed Friday, Miller faces an extended term of six to 30 years in prison.

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