A west suburban man convicted in the 2014 murder of his Naperville roommate lost his appeal Thursday and will remain in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Five years ago, Grant Muren, 26, was found guilty of second degree murder, aggravated arson and residential arson in the strangling death of 55-year-old Charles Clarke, the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office said. In 2017, Judge Brian Telander sentenced him to 20 years in prison.
Muren was arrested on Jan. 23, 2014, a day after Naperville police responded to a call at the apartment Muren shared with Clarke, the state’s attorney’s office said. There, they found Clarke dead in the bedroom and the smell of natural gas hanging over the apartment.
According to the state’s attorney’s office, Muren and Clarke got into a fight that day, resulting in Muren hitting Clarke in the head with a small table before strangling him. Muren then opened the oven, turned the gas on, put his rental agreement papers in the toaster and fled the scene, the state’s attorney’s office said.
Muren appealed his conviction, saying the court didn’t prove he wasn’t acting out of self-defense or that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the arson charges, the state’s attorney’s office said. He also entered numerous due process complaints, alleging a trial court error concerning admissible evidence and saying that the court ignored his request to represent himself.
The Appelate Court denied Muren’s appeal Thursday, saying that Clarke was struck from behind and that Muren could have taken other steps to avoid the fatal altercation. Additionally, they were not convinced that Muren’s guilt on the arson charges hadn’t been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and found his due process arguments “unpersuasive,” the state’s attorney’s office said.
“With the final chapter of this terrible case now written, it is my sincerest hope that Charles’ family and friends will be able to move on with their lives knowing that Grant Muren will pay a significant price for the murder of Charles Clarke,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said.