A Cook County judge on Saturday denied bail to an Evanston man accused of fatally stabbing a business owner during what prosecutors described as a ‘criminal spree’ in a West Ridge housing complex in May.
Brandon Sanders, 33, faces a charge of first degree murder, as well as charges of armed robbery and residential burglary. Sanders is accused of the May 12 killing of Rasim Katanic atop a tall building along the sprawling “Little India” shopping district in the 2300 block of West Devon Avenue.
Authorities said Sanders then took a screwdriver from the dying man and used it to break into the apartment of two Loyola University students who were away for their own graduation.
During a felony bail hearing streamed on YouTube, prosecutors described how they believed Sanders walked through the employee area of a Devon company to access a tall building where Katanic worked.
Katanic, 69, the owner of K&R Heating & Cooling, according to public records, was working on a walk-in chiller compressor on the roof of a restaurant when he was killed, the prosecutor told the court Deputy State, Kathryn Morrissey.
After stabbing Katanic in the neck and head, authorities say Sanders stole the victim’s wallet, keys and a screwdriver which he used to unscrew and remove a skylight from an adjacent building, Morrissey said .
After forcibly entering the Loyola graduates’ apartment, authorities said Sanders shaved in the bathroom, threw away his own clothes and took new clothes, along with three watches before leaving.
The students returned home the next morning to find personal items that had belonged to Katanic, including his wallet and ID cards. Authorities then recovered a jug of water left in the apartment which was then tested against a mouth swab taken from Sanders. Preliminary testing by Illinois State Police found a pattern consistent with Sanders’ DNA profile, Morrissey said.
Surveillance captured Sanders leaving the apartment wearing clothes he took from the burglarized apartment, authorities said. Katanic’s screwdriver was also left on the building’s mailbox.
The motive for the murder was unclear, but throughout the hearing prosecutors noted Sanders’ volatile behavior on the day of the murder.
After the murder and burglary, prosecutors said Sanders went to a nearby furniture store where he once worked and where a relative continued to work. While in the business, Sanders told his landlord he no longer had to pay rent because his landlord was “dead on the roof and taking care of it,” Morrissey said . It was not immediately clear if Katanic actually owned the business.
Authorities also cited an incident two hours before the homicide, where Sanders walked into a nearby bank and called the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center to report ‘a plot to overthrow the government’, providing his name. and his address, according to Morrissey.
Sanders’ court-appointed attorney noted his client’s possible mental health issues and fought the prosecutor’s request to deny bail, saying no video evidence directly linked Sander to the murder of Katanic.
But Judge Ankur Srivastava granted the state’s request to deny bail and ordered Sanders to return to court later this month.