A Cook County judge has denied bail to an Evanston man accused of fatally stabbing a business owner at a West Ridge building complex in what prosecutors described as a “felony case” in May.
Brandon Sanders, 33, is charged with first-degree murder, as well as armed robbery and burglary of a habitation. Sanders is accused of killing Rasim Katanic on May 12 in a high-rise building in the sprawling “Little India” shopping district in the 2300 block of West Devon Avenue.
Authorities say Sanders took a screwdriver from the dead man and used it to burglarize the residence of Loyola University students who were attending their own graduation.
During the intense bail hearing, which was broadcast on YouTube, prosecutors described how they believe Sanders went through the self-employed area of Devon Business to find the large apartment building where Katanick worked.
The 69-year-old owner of K & R Heating & Cooling of Catanic, according to public records, was operating a walk-behind chiller on the restaurant’s roof when he was killed, Assistant State’s Attorney Catherine Morrissey told the court.
After stabbing Catanik in the neck and head, authorities say Sanders stole the victim’s purse, keys and screwdriver and stole a skylight from a nearby apartment building.
After checking into Loyola’s alumni residence, officials said Sanders spent three hours in the bathroom shaving, discarding his own clothes, changing into new clothes, and leaving.
The students returned home the next morning to find Katanic’s personal items, including his wallet and ID cards. Authorities later tested a jug of water left in the apartment on a buccal swab taken from Sanders. Preliminary tests by Illinois State Police found a profile consistent with Sanders’ DNA profile, Morrisey said.
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During the surveillance, Sanders was caught leaving the apartment wearing the clothes he took from the burglarized apartment, authorities said. A catatonic spiral remains on the building’s mailbox.
A motive for the killing remains unclear, but prosecutors throughout the trial noted Sanders’ erratic behavior on the day of the murder.
After the murder and robbery, prosecutors said Sanders went to a nearby furniture store where he once worked and a relative continued to work there. At the business, Sanders told the owner they no longer had to pay rent because the landlord was “dead on the roof and he was taking care of that,” Morrissey said. It was not immediately clear whether Katanik owned the business.
Authorities cited an incident that occurred two hours before the assassination, when Sanders walked into a nearby bank and called the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center, giving his name and address, to report a “conspiracy to overthrow the government,” Morrissey said.
Sanders’ court-appointed attorney has fought back against prosecutors’ motion to deny bail, citing her client’s mental health issues, saying there is no video evidence directly linking Sanders to Katanic’s murder.
But Judge Ankur Srivastava accepted the state’s bail request and ordered Sanders to return to court later this month.