Updated 05/28/13 – 6:15 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – A purported gang member has been ordered held without bail, on charges he killed a 6-month-old girl two months ago, while trying to shoot the girl’s father.
Koman Willis, 33, has been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery in the March 11 shooting death of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins.
On Monday, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said detectives believe Willis was targeting Jonylah’s father, 20-year-old Jonathan Watkins, in retaliation for the theft of a PlayStation videogame system from Willis’ home.
Jonathan Watkins also was wounded in the attack, suffering three gunshot wounds as he and Jonylah were in a parked minivan in the Woodlawn neighborhood when Willis allegedly opened fire.
At a bond hearing for Willis on Tuesday, prosecutors said Jonathan Watkins was sitting in the front passenger’s seat, changing Jonylah’s diaper as she was in the driver’s seat. When he lifted her up to give her a kiss, Willis walked up to the vehicle and opened fire, shooting both of them.
Police also had initially said Jonylah was shot while her father was changing her diaper, but then later said that was not the case, and Jonylah was on her father’s lap when the shots were fired.
Jonathan Watkins spoke publicly for the first time about the shooting of his daughter after Tuesday’s court hearing.
When asked when he realized how badly Jonylah was hurt, Jonathan Watkins said, “She was crying when they were shooting off the noise, so I crawled out the car and had her on my chest, and she was looking at me eye-to-eye, and the police wouldn’t get off me and I had to tell them ‘My baby was shot.’ I had to say it like three times, and while I’m talking, the blood started rushing down my side.”
Jonylah suffered a single gunshot wound through her left armpit, and the bullet traveled through her body, according to prosecutors. She died after she was taken to the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital. Her father suffered three gunshot wounds, and was released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital three days after the shooting.
Pastor Corey Brooks, who has been acting as a media liaison for Jonylah’s parents, said her father cooperated with police during their investigation, and has gotten his life back on track by working on his GED.
Watkins said he doesn’t know Willis, and wouldn’t comment on whether he was involved in the Playstation theft that police have said led to a retaliation shooting. He admitted he was in a gang and sold drugs 10 years ago, but insisted he’s turned his life around.
“I’ve changed my life a lot. I’m working now. I don’t stand on the corners no more. I go to church a lot. I’m just a whole different person,” he said.
Witnesses saw Willis fleeing the scene of the shooting in a Chrysler minivan. Police surveillance cameras recorded Willis driving his girlfriend’s minivan in the area before and after the shooting, according to prosecutors.
Willis has a lengthy criminal record with at least 38 arrests dating back to 1996, including felony convictions for drugs and weapons charges. He also previously served three years in prison for aggravated assault of a police officer.
Willis was a suspect in the case early on, and turned himself in on Saturday as detectives were zeroing in on him.