Glendale Heights man pleads guilty to attempted murder for hammer attack

  • Michael Targo

    Michael Targo

  • Joshua Miceli

    Joshua Miceli

Updated 1/29/2020 8:09 PM

Joshua Miceli was angry about more than his parents' efforts to thwart his plans to become a blacksmith when he recruited a friend to kill them with a hammer.

He also was mad that his mom and dad had given money to his brother for hockey instead of giving it to him so he could pay for his girlfriend to have male-to-female sex-change surgery, Michael Targo testified Wednesday.


Targo supplied the testimony as he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted first-degree murder for the Feb. 18, 2018, attack on Louis and Barbara Miceli in their home near Glen Ellyn.

Both parents survived.

Targo, now 20, was sentenced to 16 years in prison. He will have to serve at least 85% of the time and will receive credit for the 711 days he already has spent in the DuPage County jail since his arrest.

Miceli, meanwhile, is charged with attempted murder, solicitation of murder and aggravated battery. The 25-year-old's next court date is Thursday.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Fisher told DuPage Judge Jeffrey MacKay that Miceli's mother suffered a torn earlobe, a broken jaw and a broken facial bone in the hammer attack. The fractures required surgery and for her mouth to be wired shut. His father suffered lacerations to his head, face and neck.

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Targo, of Glendale Heights, testified that he met Miceli through a mutual friend. On Feb. 1, 2018, Miceli, asked if Targo would kill his parents.

The two planned the attack over the next several weeks, with Miceli drawing a diagram of the house he also lived in and telling Targo to wear clothing that would be "easily disposable," Targo said.

He told Targo not to use a gun because it would be too noisy, nor a knife because there would be too much blood. Instead, Miceli gave him the hammer, Targo said.

Targo testified that Miceli told him to use the blunt end of the hammer, not the claw, to minimize blood mess.

Targo said he hid behind a couch waiting for the parents to return home while Miceli was in the kitchen making fondue, and Miceli was to give a signal by making a loud noise with a lazy Susan when his parents arrived.

The attack occurred around 1:30 a.m.

Targo began by hitting Barbara Miceli with the hammer, and when she fell to the floor he hit her twice more.

"He (Miceli) kept on asking me to hit her more," Targo said. Then Miceli told him to "go finish the job."


Targo found Louis upstairs and hit him with the hammer, but Louis fought back, kicking Targo away.

Targo ran off, hiding in the yard and then at a nearby gasoline station, which is where police found him.

Five photographs of screenshots of text messages between Miceli and Targo on Feb. 17 and 18 were admitted to the record.

Targo confirmed what authorities had previously said -- that Miceli would pay him with proceeds from the sale of the Micelis' belongings and a family car.

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