CHICAGO (CBS)—Opening statements in one of Chicago’s highest-profile murder cases started Tuesday.
The trial started August 14—five years after 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was gunned down in a Chicago Park.
Her alleged killers now stand trial for the honor student’s murder.
Today in court, a video showing Pendleton and her friends fleeing gunfire was shown in court.
CBS 2’s Suzanne LeMignot reported live from Leighton Criminal Courts Building for the first day of the trial of defendants Micheail Ward and Kenneth Williams.
Two separate juries will decide their fates.
Prosecutors allege Ward and Williams are gang members who mistook the honor student and her friends for rival gang members during a rain storm, and opened fire on the group in a park known as a gang hangout.
One of the most poignant moments of the trial’s opening day was when Pendleton’s friend Klyn Jones took the stand, recounting the moment she was shot.
Jones, now 21-years-old, told the court that she went to Harsh Park on January 29, 2013 with friends that day to celebrate the end of finals and smoke marijuana.
As she and the group of friends sought shelter from the rain, they spotted someone with a gun, she said.
“I was looking around and I saw a guy pointing a gun at the group,” Jones said. “I recall four shots.”
Jones sobbed as surveillance video of Pendleton and her friends running was played in court. In the video, Pendleton is seen falling to the ground after being shot.
“She was running still and slowing down and she said, ‘Seriously, I think I got shot,’ and she fell to the ground,” Jones said.
Prosecutor Barbara Dawkins says Ward and Williams were looking for rival gang members at the park that day. Ward is alleged to have fired the fatal shot, and Williams allegedly drove the getaway vehicle.
“They circled the block looking for rival gang members,” Dawkins said. “He shot over and over at those kids, shot after shot after shot.”
Defense attorney Julie Koehler cited a perceived lack of evidence connecting Ward to the crime.
“Police go to that park. They look for evidence. They don’t find anything. No video surveillance. They have nothing!” Koehler said.
Koehler went on to say that police even impounded Ward’s car, despite never having found a gun or gunshot residue.