In Naperville, Illinois, Charles Clark posted an ad on craigslist looking for a roommate in mid to late January. Police say that the ad was responded to by 21-year-old Grant Van Muren. The pair signed a lease agreement and Muren moved in.
Eight hours later Muren allegedly strangled Clark to death, took his money and tried to burn down the house to cover up the crime scene. What struck me about this story was the way Muren tried to burn the house down.
Police say that Muren opened up the gas on the oven and placed their lease agreement in a toaster before fleeing. If that sounds familiar because it was what Matt Damon did in one of the Jason Bourne movies. Muren obviously doesn’t watch Mythbusters or else he would have known that particular way of causing an explosion was busted. It hasn’t stopped the police from charging him with arson in addition to Clark’s murder.
If you’re looking for a roommate I’d recommend using something that’s more reliable than craigslist. Granted there are millions of transactions that take place on craigslist every day without incident you have to keep the plane crash correlation in mind. What I mean by that is we always hear about the planes crashing but never hear about the number of planes that deliver their passengers safely every day. However if one airline had as many crashes as craigslist has had killings that airline wouldn’t be in business anymore.
UPDATE 3/6/2014:Muren has pleaded not guilty to the murder.
UPDATE 5/5/2014: Muren is now trying to claim self defense. He says that the victim tried to gouge his eyes out and that’s why he killed him. I’m sure the robbery and the attempt at burning down the house was just coincidental.
UPDATE 3/5/2017: Back in September of 2016 Muren was convicted of second-degree murder and arson. More recently, Muren was sentenced to 20 years in prison; 14 for murder, and 6 for arson. He will be eligible for parole in 10 years.