Just before 3 a.m. Sunday, 18-year-old Michael Targo allegedly attacked a married couple in their home with a hammer, police say.
It turned out the couple’s son, 23-year-old Joshua Miceli, wanted Targo to kill his parents — and offered to pay the teenager once he completed the task, according to a press release from the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office.
The reason: Miceli wanted to be a blacksmith, police say, but his parents wouldn’t support that decision, according to the Chicago Daily Herald. So he allegedly chose a hammer because he wanted to send a message about his dream profession while also causing them maximum pain.
Miceli, who says his parents were abusive, allegedly drove Targo to his house, gave him a hammer and removed the family dog so it wouldn’t get in the way during the attempted murder. Police say Targo hid behind a couch for some time before he attacked Miceli’s mother from behind, striking her in the head with a hammer, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Targo then allegedly went upstairs to murder Miceli’s father. The man fended off the attack, the Daily Herald reported, and the teenager ran away.
Police say the couple, who were seriously injured in the attack, gave officers a description of their attacker once they arrived. Officers found Targo and arrested him in a nearby store.
Officers allegedly uncovered that Targo was part of a larger murder-for-hire plot that involved the victims’ son. He and Miceli were brought to the sheriff’s office “shortly after the crime for questioning,” according to police.
Police say that Miceli “implicated himself” in the attack as deputies continued to investigate what happened.
Both were arrested and face two charges of first-degree attempted murder, the police wrote, while Miceli faces an additional pair of charges for solicitation of murder.
Undersheriff Frank Bibbiano lauded the speed with which police officers arrested the pair, who are in a local jail without bond.
“I would like to praise our deputies for quickly apprehending these dangerous criminals and the investigators who were able to put the pieces together so swiftly,” Bibbiano said in the press release. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this heinous crime and we hope for their speedy recovery.”
Police say Targo mulled over Miceli’s offer for a week before agreeing to carry out the crime, the Tribune reported. The pair had planned to sell items and a car belonging to Miceli’s parents, police say, and split the money evenly between them.
Both suspects are set to appear in court on March 12, according to the Daily Herald.
“I would like to thank DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba and his deputies for their outstanding work in this case,” State’s Attorney Bob Berlin said in the police press release. “It is because of their efforts the victims in this case are alive today and the two defendants are now facing lengthy terms in the Illinois Department of Corrections.”