Convicted Killer to Be Resentenced 20 Years After ‘Shockingly Brutal' Aurora Murder

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Warning: Details are graphic and disturbing.

It has been called the worst murder in the history of suburban Kane County. And 20 years later, the convicted killer has been given a new hearing.

For Kim Beckley, October 21, 2001, was supposed to be just another Sunday visit with her mother, 57-year-old Irma Braun.

"I like to think she was like an angel," Beckley said. "She was giving, kind. She had a lot of friends. She went to church. She worked hard. She was very independent."

But what was supposed to be a happy day spent with family quickly turned into a nightmare when Beckley walked into Braun's Aurora home to find her mother lying on her bedroom floor.

"I opened her door and I saw my mom laying face down in a giant pool of blood," Beckley said. "There was blood all over the room, all over the closet doors, all over the walls, all over the bed - there was blood everywhere."

Investigators would later determine that after the killer entered the house through a back door, Braun had been beaten to death, possibly with a crowbar, and sexually assaulted.

Court records showed she had been handcuffed and suffered more than 25 blows to her head and body.

Nearly a year went by with no arrest in the case.

"We were just terrified that the killer was still in the neighborhood, that he would come after our family," Beckley said.

Investigators took fingerprint and DNA samples from all of the males in the neighborhood, which led them to a suspect: Joshua Minniti, who was 15 years old at the time of the crime. In September 2002, Minniti was taken into custody and charged with Braun's murder.

Investigators said his DNA was found at the scene and that he gave a statement confessing to the crime.

In court, prosecutors called Minniti’s actions “shockingly brutal,” noting that he remained in Braun's house after the murder, tracking her blood across several rooms.

"He went out to the kitchen, he was looking for snacks," Beckley said. "He touched my daughter's 'Barney' video, apparently he was putting that in the VCR."

"He went and used the bathroom. So he was playing around in the house part of the night, after he killed her," she said.

The judge noted that Braun's death was not instantaneous, that she was a victim of "torture and terror."

Minniti was convicted and sentenced to 79 years in prison: 61 for murder, plus six years each for two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and one count of home invasion, all to be served consecutively.

"He turned to us, he raised his middle finger in the air and said, 'F you," Beckley recalled of his 2004 sentencing.

Years passed as Minniti filed multiple unsuccessful appeals. Then in October 2020, the Illinois appellate court vacated Minniti's sentence and ordered that he be resentenced in a new hearing, now set for next week.

The court's order cited numerous recent decisions stating that a juvenile cannot receive a de facto life sentence unless, among other things, the court determines the defendant's conduct shows "irreparable corruption beyond rehabilitation."

At the resentencing hearing on Tuesday, it will be up to the judge to decide how long Minniti remains in prison.

Minniti's attorney declined to comment on his case, pending the outcome of the hearing.

Beckley believes he should never walk free.

"I want justice for my mother,” she said. “I want safety for the people of Aurora, of Illinois. I don't want him to get out and harm someone else."

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