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Prosecutors: Man killed by new roommate

Prosecutors said what started with a Craigslist ad for a new roommate ended with murder on a quiet street in Naperville.

On Saturday, DuPage County prosecutors outlined what they believe happened that led to the death of Naperville resident Charles Clark, and the arrest of his alleged killer.

In the weeks before his death, prosecutors said Clark, 55, was looking for a roommate to share his townhouse on the 1100 block of Vail Court in Naperville’s Estes Park neighborhood.

The computer technician turned to the Internet, posting a Craigslist ad in hopes of finding someone to split the bills.

A 21-year-old man responded. His name was Grant Muren.

The two had been living together for less than eight hours before prosecutors said Muren strangled Clark to death, burned their lease agreement and fled the home.

Muren has been charged with first-degree murder and the concealment of a homicidal death. DuPage County Judge Alex McGimpsey set bond at $2 million Saturday. DuPage authorities would not provide an address for Muren, but Kane County Court records for a 2013 misdemeanor arrest show Muren having a St. Charles address.

If he posts bond, he will be on home confinement monitoring, and be required to surrender his passport and any firearms. His next court date is set for 9 a.m. Feb. 4 at the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton.

“Several days ago, Charles Clark’s life came to an abrupt and violent end, allegedly at the hands of his new roommate,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Clark’s family and friends as they try to cope with this senseless tragedy.”

A tragic discovery

Prosecutors would not pinpoint what day they believe Clark was killed, but said it was prior to Wednesday morning when police were called to the scene by Clark’s girlfriend.

It had been several days since the woman had heard from her boyfriend. Concerned, she drove to his home, and used a key to let herself in. Once inside, prosecutors said she was hit with a wave of natural gas.

She found the stove burners on, but not ignited. The gas stove was also on with the door pulled open. Clark was found dead in an upstairs bedroom. He had been beaten and strangled.

Police descended on the home, and after interviewing Clark’s girlfriend, they honed in on a suspect: the new roommate.

Prosecutors said a charred lease agreement found inside the home led them straight to Muren. He was brought in for questioning on Thursday.

Muren gave investigators several different accounts about what occurred inside the home before he allegedly confessed to strangling his new roommate, prosecutors said.

The two had been living together for less than eight hours when the fatal fight broke out between them.

Muren said he and Clark got into a fight after engaging in a sexual encounter, prosecutors said. The fight became physical, and Muren told police he struck Clark in the head with a table, and then “choked (Clark) out” during a 20-minute struggle.

An autopsy showed that Clark’s primary cause of death was strangulation, but that he also had contusions to his face and head. The tip of his right thumb had been bitten off, and at least one fingernail had been ripped off during the altercation.

Leaving the scene

After strangling Clark, prosecutors said Muren gathered his belongings and attempted to get rid of anything that would connect him to the scene. Then, he turned on the stove and oven.

Police found bloody cleansing wipes inside the oven, along with the charred lease agreement. Various other documents were found burned throughout the home.

Following his arrest, prosecutors said Muren agreed to go with police back to the townhome, where he walked them through what happened.

He was able to identify where the struggle took place, and where Clark’s body was found.

During his video appearance at bond call Saturday morning, Muren remained silent.

His attorney said Muren had held part-time jobs, and finished some college. He was “trying to find his way.”

According to prosecutors, Muren has past arrests for domestic battery, as well as juvenile convictions for burglary and criminal damage to property.

An order of protection against Muren filed by a former roommate was granted in July 2013, prosecutors said. They would not elaborate where that order was filed, or provide details about what led to the filing.

‘A shock’

Neighbors in the normally quiet area where Clark lived were stunned at the news of the killing.

“I talked to him a few times during the summer,” one of his neighbors, who declined to be identified, said. “He was very respectful to me and my family. It’s definitely a shock.”

The neighbor said that Clark stood about 6-foot 4 inches tall and that he believed he grew up in Chicago.

Others described Clark as being very nice and a good neighbor.

The arrest of Muren capped an unusually lengthy investigation by police and examiners from the DuPage County Coroner’s Office into what they had been calling the “suspicious death” of Clark. His body was found earlier in the week inside a white-colored townhouse on the 1100 block of Vail Court, a cul-de-sac that lies off South Whispering Hills Drive and between Rickert Drive and 75th Street.

An online search showed a Charles Clark living at the Vail Court address and operating a business there called Angels Computers.

Another online posting stated Angels Computers deals in the “sale of new/used computer systems.”

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