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Chicago blogger reports – Two men have been charged in connection with the slaying of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton police said Monday.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Michael Ward (right), 18, and Kenneth Williams (left), 20, were charged in the murder of Hadiya, who was shot and killed in late January a week after attending President Barack Obama’s inauguration with the King College Prep school band. She was with a group of fellow King College Prep students after school on Jan. 29 at Harsh Park at 4458 S. Oakenwald Ave. when she was killed.
In addition to first degree murder, Williams, of the 3900 block of South Lake Park Avenue, and Ward, of the 300 block of West 59th Street, were each charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery/discharge of the firearm.
McCarthy, said at a news conference Monday night that the shooting was an attempt at retaliation for a July shooting over the summer in which Williams was injured. The police chief said cops had actually made an arrest in that July shooting, but “Williams refused to prosecute.”On the afternoon of Jan. 29, McCarthy said the two men parked their car near Harsh Park and Ward crept up toward Hadiya’s group, who the two mistook for those responsible for Williams’ shooting.He said Ward was the shooter and “confessed and indicated that Hadiya is not the intended target. … In fact the offenders had it all wrong.”McCarthy lamented that police weren’t able to break the no-snitch code. Although many tips came in, no one came forward and fingered Ward or Williams on their own, he said.
Rather, two days before the shooting, police pulled over Ward in a white 2011 Nissan in an unrelated incident. After Hadiya’s murder, neighbors described the car used in the shooting, which matched the description of the car Ward had been in. Police eventually tracked down Ward and Williams, who were arrested Saturday night near 67th Street and Martin Luther King Drive. They approached witnesses, who identified Ward and Williams in line-ups.
adiya’s father, Nathaniel Pendleton, said earlier Monday he won’t feel any closure until those responsible for his daughter’s death are convicted.”That’s what will actual bring closure — knowing those guys are off the streets,” he said. “I would love to know that these guys become poster children for criminals, that even the worst criminal won’t want to be who those guys are.”A friend of Hadiya who was at the scene when she was killed said Monday night, “I’m glad that they got them because it’s not fair that they got to go about their everyday life this long. I’m glad that they’re not going to do anything to anybody else. It’s sad because they are young, too. Even though they did something wrong their future is gone just like hers is.”Ward’s aunt, Gina, said she saw him Saturday before he was arrested.
“He was over here Saturday. He said he was going to a party. I told him to be careful. And from there they arrested him,” Gina Ward said. “I pray for him all the time. I hope he didn’t do that. I don’t think he would do something like that. Not my nephew.”
Gina Ward said her nephew was on probation and enrolled in classes to get his high school equivalency diploma at Malcom X College.
“He was trying to get himself together. I told him you can’t depend on your so-called friends. You have to get your own life together,” she said. “I don’t know what happened.”
McCarthy said the shooting wouldn’t have happened if Illinois had harsher penalties for gun offenders, including mandatory minimum jail sentences similar to the law in New York. Ward was arrested on gun charges in 2011, but received probation.
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