CHICAGO (CBS) — The family of Hadiya Pendleton showed raw emotion, shouts for joy, tears, and celebration as the jury announced the verdict Thursday.

Jurors 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.

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

15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed at a Chicago playground in 2013.

“It is something we’ve been waiting on for over five years. We’ve finally won. We got justice,” said Nate Pendleton, Hadiya’s father.

“We’d rather have Hadiya. But the fact that we have justice for her life being taken, we’ll take it,” said Cleopatra Cowley Pendleton, Hadiya’s mother.  “It’s been so hard. It’s been so hard to wake up every day, put clothes on and go outside.”

Hadiya was an honors student, a drum majorette at King College Prep High School, and had just finished her final exams. She and some classmates went to Harsh Park on Chicago’s South side when she was fatally shot.

“She didn’t live a life like that and she did not deserve this. We did not deserve that,” said Cleopatra Pendleton.

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For the past five years, the Pendleton family has fought for justice for their daughter. A jury convicted the driver of the getaway car Wednesday in the first step towards closure for the Pendleton family.

“We the jury find the defendant, Kenneth Williams, guilty of first degree murder of Hadiya Pendleton,” a juror announced in court.

Hadiya Pendleton’s mother threw up her arms outside the courthouse. “My arms lifted yesterday and my tears today are because I feel like finally something positive in our life is happening as a result of our daughter being gone. There’s justice for Hadiya.”

The case drew national attention. President Obama referenced Hadiya’s murder in his State of the Union address. Michelle Obama attended Hadiya’s funeral. Hadiya’s mother says someone representing the Obama family reached out to them since the trial began.



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