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Second Reputed Gang Member Convicted Of Killing Hadiya Pendleton

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Jurors have convicted Micheail Ward of first-degree murder in the 2013 slaying of honor student Hadiya Pendleton, after a separate jury convicted getaway driver Kenneth Williams on Wednesday.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys presented their closing arguments Thursday morning, and the jury deliberated until 4:30 p.m. before announcing the verdict about 30 minutes later.

Micheail Ward
Micheail Ward was found guilty of pulling the trigger in the Hadiya Pendleton murder case.
Kenneth Williams
A jury Wednesday found Kenneth Williams guilty in the death of Hadiya Pendleton.
Hadiya Pendleton (Twitter)
Hadiya Pendleton (Source: Twitter)
Hadiya Pendleton's Parents
Nate and Cleopatra Pendleton speak after a second reputed gang member was convicted in the killing of their daughter, Hadiya Pendleton.
April Ward
The mother of Micheail Ward defended her son's innocence after he was found guilty on Aug. 23, 2018 of first degree murder in the Hadiya Pendleton case.

The case, which has stretched on for five years, is symbolic of Chicago's gang violence problem.

Prosecutors had alleged Ward, 24, opened fire into the South Side's Harsh Park, shooting Pendleton in the back and wounding two others. The park is about a mile from Obama's Chicago home in the Kenwood neighborhood.

Ward showed little reaction as the verdict was read. Afterward, he exchanged whispers with his attorney.

Outside the courtroom, Pendleton's parents, Nate and Cleopatra, expressed relief in the double convictions of Ward and Williams, who were said to have killed Pendleton in a botched attempt to shoot at rival gang members.

"They got what they deserved and it's time to move on," Nate Pendleton said. "(We're) just ready to move onto the next page."

Cleopatra struggled to describe the emotions a mother goes through after losing a child.

She told reporters she wasn't ready to forgive the men convicted of murdering her daughter as she played in a park with friends after school.

"She didn't live a life like that and she didn't deserve it," Cleopatra said. "Who you were before you lost your child is forever tarnished."


Hadiya Pendleton (Twitter)
Hadiya Pendleton (Source: Twitter)

Micheail Ward's mom, April Ward, claimed the police coerced her son into a confession, and said she was disappointed and hurt by the verdict.

"I'm disappointed how they just harassed these kids into a confession," April Ward said. "They sat there and manipulated him into saying what they wanted to hear."

Evidence shown in court during the trial included a video of Ward tearfully telling police he didn't mean to harm Pendleton. He said he fired shots in the park after Williams threatened to kill him if he refused.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case against Ward on Wednesday by showing his jury several hours of his videotaped interrogation, which ended with him tearfully admitting to shooting Hadiya and two of her friends.

"I didn't want to do that s***, man. I liked that girl," Ward told detectives.

Micheail Ward
Micheail Ward is charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 slaying of honor student Hadiya Pendleton. (Credit: Cook County Sheriff)

Ward later recanted, and his defense attorneys have argued detectives coerced and manipulated Ward into a false confession.

Defense attorneys also argued there is no physical evidence linking either Ward or Williams to the crime.

The jury that convicted Williams in the case deliberated less than three hours before returning the guilty verdict.

Both Ward and Williams were also convicted of two counts of aggravated battery for wounding two others in the shooting.

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