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2 murders in 1 basement apt. in 16 months; family wants answers

Bernadette Glomski, 58, was found strangled to death April 15, 2015, in a Logan Square basement apartment she shared with her boyfriend, John Alexander. On Aug. 20, 2016, Alexander was found stabbed to death in the same apartment at 2510 W. Moffat. | Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times

A naked bulb burns above the front door in daylight, serving mainly to highlight the grubby gray siding on a house that looks increasingly out of place on a gentrifying Logan Square street.

The house stands out for another reason: Twice in the past 16 months, someone has been murdered in the building’s basement apartment.

It wasn’t until Aug. 21 that Chicago police arrested John Skyblue Antone in connection with the April 2015 murder there of Bernadette Glomski — just one day after the second murder happened at that same address on West Moffat.

It’s a coincidence that doesn’t sit well with some grieving family members of the second murder victim, particularly since police have identified Antone as the prime suspect in the second slaying.

“That’s bull—- right there,” said Quinn Alexander, 37. His father, John Alexander, was the second victim — stabbed to death Aug. 20 in the building. “Did they have a warrant out a while back, and he was just on the run?”

“It makes me kind of angry because John probably didn’t need to die if they would have had this guy in custody,” said Bill Alexander, one of John Alexander’s five surviving siblings.

John Alexander, 66, was found stabbed to death in his Logan Square basement apartment Aug. 20. Alexander’s death came about 1 1/2 years after his girlfriend, Bernadette Glomski, was found murdered in the same apartment. A friend of the couple has been cha
John Alexander, 66, was found stabbed to death in his Logan Square basement apartment Aug. 20. Alexander’s death came about 1 1/2 years after his girlfriend, Bernadette Glomski, was found murdered in the same apartment. A friend of the couple has been charged in Glomski’s death. Alexander’s death remains under investigation. | Provided photo

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case against Antone, had little to say earlier this month about the timing of the charges.

“The State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed this case for potential criminal charges in April of 2015 but there was insufficient evidence to bring charges at that time and it remained a continuing investigation being conducted by the Chicago Police Department,” according at a statement from the state’s attorney’s office. “Additional evidence was developed in this investigation, which led to charges being filed in the 2015 case.”

Many of the details of the last few months of John Alexander’s life have vanished in a fog of booze. He drank hard, his family says. And the 66-year-old stonemason — who favored crumpled, floppy hats that rested atop his shaggy gray hair — clung to his hippie roots. He loved Bob Dylan, eschewed personal wealth and rarely turned away from someone in need.

“He’d take a homeless person off the street, take them into his house,” said Quinn Alexander, who lives in North Freedom, Wisconsin, and like his father, does masonry work.

For the last three years, John Alexander had been living with Bernadette Glomski, a relationship that his brother Bill Alexander never quite understood.

“To me, it was a human bondage thing, where the claws were so deep in each other’s backs, they were afraid to take them out [in case] they bled to death,” said Bill Alexander, who lives in Waukegan.

Dennis Norz, a longtime friend of Glomski’s, described her as hard-working and a good listener with “an open mind.”

Bernadette Glomski, 58, was found strangled to death April 15, 2015, in a Logan Square basement apartment she shared with her boyfriend, John Alexander. On Aug. 20, Alexander was found stabbed to death in the same apartment. | Provided photo
Bernadette Glomski, 58, was found strangled to death April 15, 2015, in a Logan Square basement apartment she shared with her boyfriend, John Alexander. On Aug. 20, Alexander was found stabbed to death in the same apartment. | Provided photo

Others came and went from the apartment on West Moffat, including Antone, a 29-year-old drifter originally from Arizona who did odd jobs with Alexander. From time to time, Antone would hang out, drinking beer and listening to country music through his headphones.

“He didn’t seem strange at all,” Norz said. “He even offered me a beer.”

Whether others knew about Antone’s criminal past is unclear — he’s been in and out of Arizona jails and prisons for crimes ranging from theft to drunken driving. Or perhaps it didn’t bother John Alexander, who’d had his own minor scrapes with the law through the years dating back to the early 1970s when he was arrested protesting the Vietnam War.

On the night of April 13, 2015, John Alexander was at a nursing home on the West Side, being treated for a leg infection, his family has said. Glomski was back at the apartment with friends that included Antone, according to Cook County prosecutors.

Two days later, Glomski was found dead with “two electrical cords tightly wrapped around her neck,” prosecutors said during Antone’s bail hearing.

Antone was the last person seen with Glomski while she was still alive, prosecutors say. The day Glomski’s body was recovered, Antone was recorded on surveillance video using her Illinois Link card at a gas station, prosecutors say.

During the same hearing, prosecutors said recently returned tests showed DNA taken from Glomski’s body matched Antone’s.

Antone was questioned, family and friends say, but not arrested until this year.

It’s unclear how investigators allegedly matched Antone’s DNA to the sample found on Glomski. But Antone’s DNA was already in a national database in 2011, according to authorities in Arizona. And if Chicago police wanted to arrest Antone, they might have found him in Arizona, where he’d spent a day in the Pinal County Jail earlier this year after being arrested for an alleged probation violation.

Those who knew John Alexander say eschewed personal wealth and rarely turned away someone in need. Alexander, 66, was found stabbed to death in his Logan Square basement apartment Aug. 20. His death remains under investigation. | Provided photo
Those who knew John Alexander say eschewed personal wealth and rarely turned away someone in need. Alexander, 66, was found stabbed to death in his Logan Square basement apartment Aug. 20. His death remains under investigation. | Provided photo

The Illinois State Police crime lab typically prioritizes violent cases over property ones, but earlier this month a spokesman for the ISP — citing the ongoing criminal investigation — wouldn’t talk specifically about the Antone case.

Glomski’s death sent John Alexander’s already messy life into a tailspin. He left the nursing home before his leg had fully healed.

“He felt extremely guilty when she was murdered,” Bill Alexander said.

John Alexander, a talented mason, chose to continue living in the apartment where Glomski had been murdered. And, family say, he became determined to find Glomski’s killer. He had strong suspicions and had mentioned Antone’s name to family in recent months.

Then on the night of Aug. 20, Alexander was stabbed multiple times in his apartment. Police have described the suspect only as male, someone who later fled into the night.

Police didn’t respond to requests for an interview about the Alexander investigation.

John Alexander was a talented stonemason. Alexander was found stabbed to death in his Logan Square basement apartment Aug. 20. His death was about 1 1/2 years after his girlfriend, Bernadette Glomski, was found slain in the same apartment. A friend of the
John Alexander was a talented stonemason. Alexander was found stabbed to death in his Logan Square basement apartment Aug. 20. His death was about 1 1/2 years after his girlfriend, Bernadette Glomski, was found slain in the same apartment. A friend of the couple has been charged in Glomski’s death. Alexander’s death remains under investigation. | Marvin Shaffer photo

But another of Alexander’s siblings, Peter Alexander, has spoken extensively with a detective working his brother’s case. Peter Alexander said police say they’ve been hampered by the well-publicized, months-long backlog of testing at the Illinois State Police Crime Lab.

He’s been told Antone is the “prime suspect” in his brother’s death. Peter Alexander said he’s not asked police about the timing of the charges in Glomski’s death. He said Chicago police are doing their job well, and that they’re being unfairly criticized.

“Chicago seems to be on fire with crime . . . and it’s pretty disgusting,” said Alexander, who lives near San Francisco. “I have a lot of empathy for police officers who have this job, especially for the abuse they are taking. I’m not one to pile on. I get it.”

But John Alexander’s other brother, Bill, is less forgiving. During a recent chat on the North Side, he reminisced about his brother — a guy with an artist’s eye for stone work, a free spirit whose possessions when he died filled less than half a suitcase.

“He was a good guy, and he didn’t need to die,” Bill Alexander said.