Co-defendant in Bensenville slaying faces murder charges again

  • Kenneth Bardlett, 23, of Chicago is once again charged with murder in the 2014 slaying of Hussein Saghir in Bensenville.

    Kenneth Bardlett, 23, of Chicago is once again charged with murder in the 2014 slaying of Hussein Saghir in Bensenville.

 
 
Updated 11/28/2016 4:55 PM

DuPage County prosecutors have refiled six counts of first-degree murder charges against the co-defendant of a Chicago man convicted this month in the 2014 slaying of 36-year-old Bensenville tobacco shop clerk Hussein Saghir.

Prosecutors also reinstated an attempted armed robbery charge against Kenneth Bardlett, 23, of Chicago, as they withdrew the plea agreement Bardlett signed on March 27, 2014.

 

Assistant State's Attorney Kristin Johnston told Judge Daniel Guerin Monday that Bardlett violated the plea agreement during the recent trial in which Stephan Russell was convicted of murder.

As part of the original plea deal, prosecutors charged Bardlett only with aggravated battery with a firearm and agreed to cap their sentencing recommendation at 20 years in prison.

In exchange, Bardlett agreed to identify the 23-year-old Russell as the gunman in the slaying and to testify truthfully against Russell and a third man, Tremayne Davis.

After refusing to come to court Nov. 15 and 16, Bardlett was forced to testify by a "drag order" signed by Guerin.

Once on the witness stand, Bardlett recanted his entire story. Instead of fingering Russell as the shooter, Bardlett testified that Russell wasn't even at the scene.

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Prosecutors said Bardlett also refused to truthfully answer questions asked by Assistant State's Attorney Mike Pawl, even denying he was the suspect shown being interviewed on several snippets of his filmed interrogation.

He answered most of Pawl's questions with "I don't know, man" and "Whatever you say, man."

At one point Bardlett was reprimanded by Guerin for putting his feet up on the witness stand and criticized Pawl for "getting on my nerves."

A jury convicted Russell of first-degree murder Nov. 18 for being the gunman who killed Saghir with a single shot that pierced his heart and both lungs.

Saghir and his brother were closing Sam's Tobacco and Food Mart at 235 W. Irving Park Road around 5:45 p.m. Jan. 19, 2014, when they were confronted by Russell and Bardlett.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Prosecutors say video shown during Russell's trial shows Bardlett grabbed Saghir's brother, Ahmad, and attempted to drag him back into the store while Russell kept a handgun pointed at Hussein Saghir.

When Hussein refused to re-enter the store, apparently to protect his 3-year-old nephew inside, Russell fired one shot from a black revolver over Hussein's head, the bullet lodging in the door frame.

Hussein continued to struggle outside the store and Russell fired one shot below Hussein's right armpit that pierced both of his lungs and his heart.

The pair and Davis, who remained in the minivan during the robbery, immediately fled to Chicago.

Bardlett's attorney, Assistant Public Defender George Ford, said Monday his client understood why the deal was being withdrawn and that he understood the consequences during his testimony.

Bardlett is next due in court Jan. 18 and prosecutors have requested a trial date be set.

Davis, meanwhile, is next due in court Friday to be sentenced to the eight years he agreed to when he pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery earlier this year. He'll get credit for the almost three years he's already served.

He also will be expected to testify against Bardlett.

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