The 23-year-old Villa Park man was being held without bond on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated arson and arson in the Sunday fire that killed Paula Morgan, 24, and critically injured her 25-year-old friend.
"What helped kind of set him off was that, at one point, she didn't respond," Berlin said.
He added Mandoline watched the victim come out of the house at one point, then saw her go back inside.
Authorities said the fire moved quickly from the vehicle to an attached garage, then into the home on the 1000 block of South Ahrens Avenue. Firefighters pulled Morgan and Jason Cassidy of Villa Park from the upstairs when they arrived about 4 a.m.
Morgan's 6-year-old son, who lived there with his mother and grandmother, heard a smoke detector and managed to escape on his own. Berlin said the child wandered outside and told several partygoers sleeping in the backyard that there was a fire.
Morgan, who would have turned 25 on Monday, died of smoke inhalation, Berlin said. Her dog Spencer also was killed, according to court records. Cassidy was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he remained in critical but stable condition Wednesday.
"He is fighting for his life as we speak," Berlin said.
Berlin said Mandoline and Morgan had a dating relationship but that he could not elaborate as the investigation continued. He said investigators have yet to review some phone records that will show exactly how many texts were sent and what was said.
Earlier Wednesday, Mandoline briefly appeared before Judge John Kinsella, who set arraignment for Aug. 13. The defendant was cuffed with his hands in front and wore a yellow jumpsuit indicating he's considered a high-risk inmate at the county jail.
Mandoline was represented by a public defender but told Kinsella he is working to retain private legal counsel, prompting the judge to delay a formal bond hearing. A private attorney referenced by Mandoline in court did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
If convicted, Mandoline could face up to natural life in prison. He has prior convictions for marijuana possession, driving under the influence and criminal damage to property, according to court records.
"Our hearts go out to the victims' families," said Berlin, who described the case as "horrific."
"Fortunately, (Morgan's) son was able to get out from the flaming house," he said. "Unfortunately, however, her son will now grow up without his mother's love, comfort and protection, which is just heartbreaking."
(Daily Herald - July 26, 2012)
Full Name: Todd Mandoline
Weight: 150 lbs
Hair Color: BROWN
Eye Color: BLU
Arrest Date: 07/24/2012
Agency: DuPage County, Illinois
#1 AGGRAVATED ARSON - KNOWLEDGE OF PEOPLE PRESENT
#2 AGGRAVATED ARSON - KNOWLEDGE OF PEOPLE PRESENT
#3 MURDER-1ST DEGREE-FORCIBLE FELONY
#4 ARSON-DAMAGE TO REAL PROPERTY OVER $150
#5 CRIMINAL DAMAGE TO PROPERTY-INJURE DOMESTIC ANIMAL- < $300