Murder charges filed in fatal stabbing of Naperville man

December 2

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and Naperville Police Chief David Dial announce that two counts of first-degree murder have been filed against a man accused of fatally stabbing a Naperville man last week.

Cortez Branch, 21, of 179 Cranberry Lane, Bolingbrook, is accused of stabbing Michael Fairbanks, 18, during a fight on Nov. 26.

Fairbanks and Branch were involved in a fight near Keats Avenue and Falkner Drive in Naperville during which Branch allegedly stabbed Fairbanks in the chest with a knife. Naperville police responded to the disturbance at about 5:40 p.m. and transported the victim to Edward Hospital, where he died Sunday afternoon from his injuries. 

Branch was arrested and booked into the Will County Jail initially for aggravated battery and armed violence. After meeting with Naperville Police on Tuesday morning, Will County prosecutors filed two counts of first-degree murder against Branch.

The defendant appeared in court on Tuesday afternoon. He remains in the Will County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Naperville Police ask anyone who witnessed the incident or who has information regarding this case to contact the Naperville Police Department at (630) 420-6666 or call the Naperville Crime Stoppers Hotline at (630) 420-6006.

The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office reminds the public that charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.