WHEATON, Ill. (CBS) — Bond was set at $2.5 million on Wednesday for a 20-year-old man charged with murder in the slaying of a convenience store clerk in west suburban Bensenville last month.
Prosecutors said Kenneth Bardlett admitted to being one of the two men caught on surveillance video as they tried to rob Sam’s Tobacco and Food Mart on Jan. 19, although Bardlett is not accused of being the gunman who shot the clerk, Husein Saghir.
Saghir, 36, died after he was shot outside the store, where he confronted two young men in hoodies who tried to force him inside the shop.
Police said Saghir and his brother were closing the store at the time, and Saghir wouldn’t let the robbers inside, because he wanted to protect his 3-year-old nephew who was inside.
The two suspects fled the scene without taking any money.
Bardlett was arrested Friday night at his apartment in west suburban Bellwood. He has been charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of attempted armed robbery. At a bond hearing Wednesday morning, DuPage County prosecutors said he admitted he was one of the two would-be robbers seen on the surveillance video of the attack, and pointed himself out in images from the tapes.
However, his family insisted he is innocent, despite prosecutors saying he confessed.
“That’s not true. This kid, I mean … I guess, from the tattoos, they think he’s a gangster,” said his cousin, Andrea George. “He’s a good boy. He’s a schoolboy. You know, he got in trouble in life. A little case, or whatever, but it was minor.”
Bardlett’s family also said just hours before his arrest, he was at church with his mother.
“Kenneth is a good boy. He goes to church with his mom,” she said. “I know the whole family’s upset, and I hope get this all straightened out.”
DuPage County prosecutors sought $5 million bail for Bardlett, due to his lengthy criminal history, but the judge set his bond at $2.5 million instead.
Bardlett’s criminal record includes a 26-day stint in jail on drug charges in 2011, a 3-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to felony gun charges later the same year, and a guilty plea last year to reckless conduct, resulting in a two-day stay in jail, followed by three months of probation. That probation ended just days before the robbery attempt in Bensenville.
He’s also wanted on a separate criminal charge in Cook County, prosecutors said.
His accomplice had not been caught as of Wednesday morning.