Man Charged in Tobacco Store Clerk's Murder

Kenneth Bardlett, 20, ordered held on $2.5 million bond

A Bellwood man was ordered held Wednesday on $2.5 million bond for his alleged role in the slaying of a Bensenville store clerk.

Kenneth Bardlett, 20, faces first-degree murder charges and one count of attempted armed robbery for the Jan. 19 slaying of Hussein Saghir at Sam's Tobacco and Food Mart.

Police say Saghir, 36, was working at the store at 235 W. Irving Park Rd. when he and his brother were confronted by two males as they were closing up for the night. Surveillance video showed the two men trying to force the brothers back into the store, and at one point one of the men pulled out a gun and shot Saghir.

A prosecutor said the victim and his brother were trying to prevent Bardlett and his accomplice from entering the store because their 3-year-old nephew was inside.

While authorities said Bardlett took part, he was not the trigger man. The other man was still not in police custody Wednesday.

Bardlett's relative, Andrea George, said her cousin is a "good boy."

"He went to church with his mom. He's very respectful," said George. "The whole family's upset. I hope [authorities] get this all straightened out. He's a good kid. I feel he's innocent. It's a big family and we are here to support him."

She shrugged off a prosecutor's assertion that Bardlett admitted to being at the store to commit armed robbery.

"I don't think that's true at all. Why would you admit to something you didn't do?" she said.

Those who frequent the business said the Saghir was a nice man who went out of his way to help customers.

"I know a couple of people here who wanted cigarettes, pop or anything. They could go say, 'I don't have money right now, and he would be like, 'Oh, no, that's fine," customer Stephanie Penge said last month.

Police say the shop was also robbed in November 2013 by three males. Authorities said they aren't sure if the two robberies are related, but the perpetrators in that crime were never caught.

Bardlett was scheduled to be back in court on Feb. 24.

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