No Bond For Suspects In Hadiya Pendleton’s Murder

UPDATE: 2/12/2013 10:10 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Bond has been denied for the two purported gang members allegedly responsible for gunning down a 15-year-old honor student two weeks ago.

Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, each were charged Monday with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports they were ordered held without bond when they made their first court appearance Tuesday afternoon at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Prosecutors said Williams was driving the car and provided the gun when the two pulled up to a South Side park where a group of students were taking shelter from the rain. Prosecutors said Ward got out and fired six times at the group that included Hadiya Pendeleton, who was shot and killed.

CBS 2 has learned that as their white Nissan sped away from the scene, the car was caught by surveillance cameras at an apartment complex two blocks away.

According to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Ward was out for revenge and picked the wrong target.

“When the rival gang killed one of his friends, he thought, if we keep standing for this, we are going to be some straight bitches,” Alvarez said. “Those are his words.”

Hadiya Pendleton (Supplied to CBS)

Hadiya Pendleton (Supplied to CBS)

Also in that crowd and also shot was 18 year-old eagle scout Lawrence Sellers.

He was shot in the lower leg in that attack in a Kenwood neighborhood park, the same ambush that killed his friend, Hadiya Pendleton. He’s feeling safer now.

When asked if he was relieved by the arrest, Sellers responded, “Yeah. Happy he’s off the streets. He ain’t hurting nobody else. Justice should be, like, served because she didn’t deserve that at all.”

Asked if he had vengeance on his heart, Sellers said, “There’s really nothing I could do though.”

Prosecutors say they have cell phone records placing suspect Williams near the park the day of the shooting.

The arrests were an important first step toward justice for Hadiya’s parents.

“I am very excited that the murderers who hurt my baby have been caught,” Hadiya’s mother, Cleopatra Cowley, told CBS 2’s Jim Williams. “I’m happy that she’s not a cold case.”

Hadiya was shot and killed on Jan. 29 in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park on the 4400 block of South Oakenwald Avenue, as she and about a dozen schoolmates were sheltering themselves from the rain under a canopy. Two of her peers were injured in the attack.

Alvarez said the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. Williams allegedly said he and ward were searching for members of a rival gang who had killed a friend of Ward’s. Williams also had been wounded by a rival gang member last summer, according to police.

“Defendant Ward stated that his gang and the rival gang had been shooting at one another since 2010,” she said.

Ward was the alleged gunman in the shooting, and Williams was the getaway driver, according to prosecutors.

Ward’s attorney, Jeffrey Granich, suggested his client was railroaded.

“The problem when criminal cases get made into political cases is rules are bent, and mistakes are made,” he said. “We do not call people murderers or convict people before a trial has begun, before any evidence has been brought to court.”

Williams’ attorney, Matthew McQuaid, said his client asserts he had nothing to do with the shooting.

“He believes that he didn’t do anything wrong here,” he said. “He’s indicating that he’s not involved in this.”

Prosecutors say they have cell phone records placing suspect Williams near the park the day of the shooting.

Hadiya’s parents were in Washington Tuesday to attend a hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill, and to attend the State of the Union address. They will be First Lady Michelle Obama’s guest for President Barack Obama’s speech.

Cowley said she would like to hear the president’s position on gun violence.

“Something’s wrong with the way laws are structured, perhaps,” she said. “There’s a lot of senseless violence going on right now. Guns; how are they getting in? I need to hear what’s happening, since I have that opportunity, and maybe get the word out. … Her loss cannot be in vain.”

About a week before Hadiya was killed, she had performed with her school band at President Barack Obama’s inauguration festivities. The first lady attended Hadiya’s funeral on Saturday.

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