Metro-East News

She was shot in front of her baby. Now police want to see the father’s phone records.

Police investigate after body found in East St. Louis apartment

A neighbor talks about a dead young mother found early Tuesday morning in an East St. Louis, IL, public housing apartment. The neighbor said the dead woman was very quiet, kept to herself and had a young baby.
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A neighbor talks about a dead young mother found early Tuesday morning in an East St. Louis, IL, public housing apartment. The neighbor said the dead woman was very quiet, kept to herself and had a young baby.

Alexis Winston and the father of her baby were involved in a child-support dispute at the time she was shot in front of her infant daughter.

Now police want to take a look at the father’s cellphone records.

Police wanted to examine call records, text conversations, pictures, search history and other information contained in his phone, according to a recently-released application for a search warrant, filed in St. Clair County Court.

Winston, 23, and the 26-year-old father were scheduled to be in court the day after her body was found. The family case involved the paternity of Winston’s daughter, Royal Spencer, who was born Jan. 27, 2016. Winston asked for a paternity test to prove that the man was the father, and for child support payments, according to court records.

The man she named as the father failed to show up for the test May 18, according to the records. Winston asked that he be sanctioned by the court, and he was scheduled to be in court Aug. 9 to respond to her request.

The father has not been charged in connection with the killing of Winston, who was found dead in the upstairs of her apartment at the John Robinson Homes at 1200 Market Ave. in East St. Louis on Aug 8.

Alexis Winston
Alexis S. Winston Provided

Winston called 911 about 4 a.m. to report a home invasion.

“The caller screamed and hung up,” according to the search warrant application sworn to by Major Case Squad Detective Andrew Ward, of the Fairview Heights Police Department.

Officers arrived and found a rear kitchen window broken, and Winston shot inside the home.

“The deceased was lying on the right side of the bed and officers also located a female baby approximately 2 years of age lying in a nearby crib. The baby was unharmed,” the application stated.

Police also found Winston’s cellphone near her right inner thigh. A search of the phone revealed she had been in communication with the father in the hours before her death, court records stated.

During an interview with father, he told police that he and Winston had been arguing over child support and that he and his current girlfriend had also been arguing over the issue. The father told police that he had deleted messages between himself and Winston in the hours before her death but could not tell police why.

Police noted during that interview that the father had scratches on his hands, arms and back, which he told police he received while changing his oil.

Neighbor Nancy Shireman talks about the young mother who was found dead early Tuesday morning in an East St. Louis public housing apartment. Shireman said she never had the chance to meet the young woman, who had only been in the complex for three

The father also told police that he had owned a 9 mm handgun, the same caliber as the weapon used to kill Winston.

The father told police that he had been at his current girlfriend’s house in Collinsville the morning of the killing, but left at 5 a.m. after he and the girlfriend argued over the child support issue.

Police noted that surveillance footage taken from a car wash in Caseyville showed a silver Chevrolet Impala like the one the father drove, going south on Illinois 157 at about 3 a.m.

The current girlfriend allowed police to search her home, according to court records. Police found a pair of gray Converse All-Star tennis shoes in the bedroom that appeared to have blood on them.

“The tread on these shoes were also deemed consistent with the shoe prints in the crime scene,” the application stated.

Winston’s baby was taken into the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services after the killing.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer

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