By STEFANO ESPOSITIO, MITCHELL ARMENTROUT, ASHLEE REZIN and MITCH DUDEK
He didn’t want the other children in the building to see their friend’s blood.
So Reggie Taylor, the maintenance man, dropped a painter’s tarp over the crimson stains blotting the hallway carpet in the North Side apartment building where 12-year-old Alexis Stubbs lived—and where she was fatally beaten and stabbed on Sunday.
By Monday evening, authorities had charged an ex-boyfriend of the girl’s mother, John Singleton, with first-degree murder in Alexis’ death. Singleton, a 31-year-old convicted felon, was to appear in bond court Tuesday.
Singleton, court records show, had pleaded guilty to felony aggravated domestic battery for choking a woman in 2014. He had just been released from prison in April and was currently on parole. A police source said the victim in that case was Alexis’ mother.
He also had been convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery in 2012, records show, and was charged again in a separate domestic-battery case three months later. But that charge was dropped when the victim didn’t show up in court.
Chicago Police said Alexis was thought to have suffered her injuries during a domestic dispute, but the specific events leading up to her killing remained unclear.
The fatal attack occurred about 9:45 p.m. Sunday in the 4600 block of North Beacon in the Sheridan Park neighborhood, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Alexis was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 10:46 p.m., authorities said.
Police later found Singleton inside a portable toilet at a construction site nearby, said community activist Andrew Holmes. Detectives used cellphone pings to track him there, Holmes said.
Taylor, the maintenance man in Alexis’ building, said the girl lived there with her mother, who was outside in front of the complex at the time of the attack.
Many of the children who lived in the building were close to Alexis, Taylor added.
“She looked like a little Shirley Temple. Little curls … Very happy all the time,” said Taylor. “She was a sweet little kid. Sweet girl, sweet girl.”
The blood splatter from the attack, Taylor said, continued 10 feet down the hall and into their apartment.
After Taylor put down the tarp over the bloody carpet, he added other painting materials to make the diversion appear more realistic. “We’ve got a professional carpet cleaner coming today,” he said.
“We lost another baby,” said Holmes, the community activist. “Another life was cut short today.”
The girl’s mother has decided to donate her child’s organs, Holmes said.
Taylor said Alexis had an “awesome” mother.
“She loved her child,” he said. “They was like Siamese twins, you know, you didn’t see them apart. She really took care of her baby.”
Taylor said the building was a family-oriented place that had never experienced violence like this before.
Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services disclosed it had been in contact with Alexis and her mother a little over a year ago, in May 2016, over a child-neglect allegation involving lack of supervision–an allegation the agency eventually deemed wasn’t credible. An agency spokeswoman stressed that the prior unfounded allegation was unrelated to the girl’s death.
The complex is on a well-manicured block that’s a mix of new and old apartments, and older stately homes. It is owned by Chicago House and Social Service agency, which, according to its website, serves individuals and families by offering help with housing, employment, medical care, legal services and other support.
Scott Ammarell, CEO of Chicago House, said Alexis’ death has hit other tenants hard.
“It is absolutely devastating for everyone who lives here. We have a very tight-knit group of residents,” he said.
Ammarell would not say whether Alexis’s death was caught on surveillance cameras.
“I can only confirm that whatever information we have is being provided directly to the police,” he said.