In early 2014, Grant Muren, then 21 (above), answered a Craigslist ad for a roommate placed by computer programmer Charles Clark, 55. The pair hit it off. On January 22, Muren signed a lease and moved into Clark’s residence in the Chicago suburb of Naperville.
Within the first eight hours of their cohabitation, prosecutors say, Muren and Clark engaged in a sex act, after which Muren reportedly beat Clark severely, possibly with a small table, and ultimately strangled the older man to death. Then the new roomie stole Clark’s cash and fled.
After Clark’s girlfriend discovered his body that evening, responding officers found the apartment flooded with gas from the kitchen stove. Investigators concluded that Muren had intentionally turned the gas on to “blow up and/or burn down the house.”
Police also discovered Muren’s signed lease inside a toaster oven, evidence of what they believed was his attempt to burn it. In addition, it appeared that, at some point, Muren tried to bite off Clark’s fingertips.
Muren was quickly arrested and initially charged with first-degree murder and concealing a homicide.
After a trial on September 14 in which Muren claimed self-defense, NBC Chicago reports, a jury convicted Muren, now 24, on charges of second degree murder, aggravated arson, and residential arson. He presently faces up to 30 years in prison.
An unidentified neighbor said he told Clark not to put the ad online and that the deceased was simply, “[a] nice man.”
Main photo: Grant Muren [Dupage County Sheriff’s Office]