Alexis Stubbs called her killer “daddy,” Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday at a bond hearing for the man they say stabbed the 12-year-old to death Sunday.
John Singleton, 31, had known the girl and her mother for four years and had a “stepfather relationship” with the preteen, Assistant State’s Attorney Guy Lisuzzo said.
The relationship had endured even after Singleton was sentenced in 2014 to three years in prison for attempting to strangle Alexis’ mother.
Singleton had moved in with the family on Wednesday – June 7 – the day he was released on parole for the 2014 attack.
Four days later, prosecutors say he attacked Alexis with a knife and hammer, stabbing the girl about a dozen times in a Sheridan Park apartment.
Inside the apartment, the girl could be heard pleading in the background of a voicemail Singleton left on her mother’s phone, as the panicked woman talked with a 911 dispatcher.
“In that voicemail, the victim is screaming and begging for her life, saying, ‘Please daddy, don’t!'” Lisuzzo said.
Wearing a sweat-stained disposable jumpsuit, Singleton shook his head slowly as Lisuzzo described surveillance video that showed the girl crawling out of her apartment, drenched in blood and struggling to breathe.
The footage also showed Singleton as he bolted from the apartment moments earlier, racing past police officers, who gave chase but would not find him until hours later, hiding in a portable toilet just a block away. Alexis’ mother came up the stairs after police, and took her wounded daughter in her arms, before going into the apartment to find towels to tend to the girl’s wounds.
“The victim’s mother wiped blood from the victim’s face, put pressure on her wounds,” Lisuzzo said. “The victim was scared, restless and writhing in pain, unable to catch her breath.”
The girl suffered stab wounds to her arm, shoulder, chest, hip and side, and four times in the back.
Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil ordered Singleton held without bond on charges of murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault of a police officer.
After being taken into custody, Lisuzzo said, Singleton admitted to detectives that he stabbed Alexis and hit her. Left alone in the interrogation room, he began pacing and doing pushups. Then, Lisuzzo said Singleton banged on the door to lure detectives back, and tried to force the door open when they returned, and said that he wanted police to kill him.
Shackled at the wrists and ankles, Singleton was led into court Tuesday by four members of the jail’s Emergency Response Team, in addition to three sheriff’s deputies.
Singleton still was on parole for the 2014 aggravated domestic battery conviction, a case involving Alexis’ mother. Alexis had been a witness in that crime.
Singleton had choked Alexis’ mother, shouting “I’m gonna kill you! I’m gonna go to jail for you!” court records from that incident show. After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to three years in prison.
Singleton now wanted to stay long-term in the apartment Alexis shared with her mother in the 4600 block of North Beacon Street. But Alexis’ mother was concerned because hosting convicted felons at the apartment for longer than a week was a lease violation that could get her kicked out of the building.
On Sunday, the couple and Alexis has passed the day uneventfully, Lisuzzo said, until after dinner, when Singleton and Alexis’ mother began arguing about buying cigarettes around 9 p.m. Alexis and her mother drove to a store about 10 minutes away to get cigarettes, but the argument continued in cellphone calls. In one call, Alexis’ mother ordered Singleton out of the apartment.
When the pair returned to the building, they pulled up in front and Alexis’ mother sent the girl to deliver cigarettes to a neighbor. Surveillance cameras show the girl was greeted at the building entrance by Singleton, who pushed her into the entryway and pulled a hammer out of his pocket, Lisuzzo said. Singleton raised the hammer as the 12-year-old “cowered on the floor” of the vestibule, Lisuzzo said.
Singleton grabbed Alexis by the hair and shoved her up the stairs to the apartment. When they reached the apartment, Alexis’ mother could see her daughter and Singleton in the window. She called 911, as Singleton began calling her, with sounds of Alexis begging for her life in the background.
Singleton ran when police arrived, escaping with a bloody knife and hammer, prosecutors said. He began taunting Alexis’ mother with text messages after he made his brief escape.
“See wat u made me do from not appreciate me like u should have don n tha first place,” read one. “Now I really hope DCFS take her away from u if only she survive wat I done to her because u done luv her as u say u do cuz u just left her to get killed.”
Another message read: “U f—— made me kill my only child all because u ain’t wanna come n tha house.”
Assistant Public Defender Kathryn Lisco said Singleton has a history of mental health problems and had been in treatment while in prison.
Child-welfare authorities had been in contact with Alexis and her mother, who was investigated last year for allegations of neglect, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Children and Family Services said. An investigation determined the allegation wasn’t credible.