Naperville man sentenced to 20 years for murder of new roommate, arson
A Naperville man convicted of murdering his new roommate within hours of moving in and then attempting to "blow the place up" will spend the next several years in prison.
DuPage County Judge Brian Telander on Thursday sentenced 24-year-old Grant Muren to 14 years in prison for the second degree murder of 55-year-old Charles Clark and another six years for aggravated arson.
Muren and Clark met in early January 2014 when Muren answered Clark's online ad seeking a roommate.
On Jan. 20, Muren signed the lease paperwork and paid Clark $950 to cover the first month's rent and security deposit before moving into the townhouse on the 1100 block of Vail Court in Naperville's Estes Park neighborhood.
Within hours the men purchased a large bottle of brandy, ate chicken, played video games and had a consensual sexual encounter in the loft, prosecutors said.
An argument ensued, however, after Clark showered and Muren was ordered to leave the townhouse but refused.
A short time later Muren smashed Clark over the head from behind several times with a wooden tray table as Clark sat at a desk, and Muren eventually killed him, prosecutors said.
"(Clark) was strangled to death," Assistant State's Attorney Enza LaMonica said Thursday. "He fought for his life and died of suffocation, which was pretty brutal."
After Clark was dead, Muren turned on the gas stove and attempted to light three small fires in an effort to blow the house up.
"On Jan. 22, 2014, Charles Clark's life came to a violent end at the hands of his new roommate, Grant Muren," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a written statement. "Today, more than three years later, Charles' family and friends continue to grieve their loss. It is my sincerest hope that with today's sentence, those who loved and miss Charles will be able to put this horrible time of their lives to rest and begin to move forward knowing that the man responsible for Charles' death will spend a significant amount of time behind bars."
Throughout the August 2016 trial, Muren's attorneys maintained he was the victim of an intoxicated, violent Clark and that Clark attacked first. They continued that defense as they pleaded for a light sentence.
"This is all the result of (Clark) violently attacking Grant and Grant defending himself," attorney Michael Gillespie said. "It was a horrible decision. Grant made a horrible decision after surviving a violent attack."
Muren, who has a brief history of disciplinary issues in jail, must serve half the murder sentence and 85 percent of the arson sentence before he is eligible for parole. He receives credit for the more than two years he has served in DuPage County as he was held on $2 million bail.