A Chicago man allegedly killed his 12-year-old stepdaughter as a way to punish her mother.
John Singleton, 31, was arguing over the phone with the girl's stepmother, according to the Chicago Tribune. The phone call took place only minutes before he reportedly stabbed and beat his stepdaughter, Alexis Stubbs, to death in her apartment.
Singleton is a convicted felon who served time in 2014 after choking Alexis' mother. He and the mother, who remains unnamed as she is a victim of domestic violence, continued to stay in touch while he was prison. They later reconciled.
He was released on electronic monitoring and was staying with Alexis and her mother. He had been staying with them for five days before the girl was killed.
He and the mother were fighting about cigarettes, which eventually turned into an argument about Singleton's living situation, prosecutors say. Singleton was not allowed to live in the apartment because of building rules.
Alexis and her mother at one point reportedly left the apartment. They briefly returned, so Alexis could deliver cigarettes to a neighbor. That's when Singleton grabbed the girl by the hair and dragged her up toward the apartment, prosecutors said.
Her last cries for help were caught on voicemail.
"The victim was screaming and begging for her life, saying, 'Please daddy, don't,'" said Assistant State's Attorney Guy Lisuzzo.
Alexis crawled out of the building covered in blood. Responding officers found her unable to speak and her attempts to breathe were so intense they were visible on surveillance recordings.
"[She] was scared, restless and writhing in pain," said Lisuzzo.
She had been stabbed 11 times and later died from her injuries.
Singleton fled the apartment, allegedly carrying a bloody hammer and knife. He then texted Alexis' mother, appearing to taunt her.
"See wat u made me do," he wrote. "I really hope [The Department of Children and Family Services] take her from u if only she survive wat I done to her."
He later sent another text: "U [expletive] made me kill my only child ... believe it or not u gon pay for this."
Crisis reporter Andrew Holmes tells WBRC the mother is heartbroken at her loss.
"It's just tearing her apart," he said. "She's been looking forward to graduation in the years to come and things they wanted to do. They had a bond, and that bond has been broken."
During his arrest, Singleton allegedly attacked one of the questioning detectives and faces charges of aggravated battery of a police officer in addition to kidnapping and murder.