Man sentenced to 10 years for attempted criminal sexual assault

URBANA — A previously convicted sex offender was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for trying to rape a woman as she walked on a city street last fall.

John Danny Miller, 36, who last lived in the 200 block of South Hartle Avenue, Urbana, pleaded guilty Thursday before Judge Harry Clem to attempted criminal sexual assault.

Assistant State's Attorney Scott Larson said about 2:50 p.m. on Nov. 13, the 24-year-old woman was walking in the 500 block of West California Avenue talking on her cellphone when she heard someone running behind her.

An Urbana police report detailed how the woman turned and saw a naked man coming at her. He grabbed her face and the two struggled as he tried to cover her mouth. During the struggle he thrust his pelvis into her, police said.

When the woman screamed, the man ran away. She told police there was an idling sport utility vehicle nearby and she thought the attacker was going to drag her to it.

Larson said Urbana Detective Matt Rivers compared the description of that SUV to the vehicles of known sex offenders in the area to come up with Miller as a suspect. He also obtained police reports about a prior attempted aggravated criminal sexual assault conviction Miller got in Cook County in 2002 and found that crime to be similar to the Urbana crime, Larson said.

The victim picked Miller out of a photo lineup. Police also recovered a cigarette butt at the scene that was found to have Miller's DNA on it.

Miller's attorney had requested that Miller be examined for fitness. Clem reviewed the report of the professional who examined him and concluded that Miller was fit to stand trial. He then entered the guilty plea.

Larson said besides the prior sex conviction, Miller has others for burglary and aggravated robbery.

Miller is eligible for day-for-day good time on the sentence.

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