CHICAGO (CBS) — Jurors will hear closing arguments today at the trial of the alleged gunman in the 2013 slaying of Hadiya Pendleton, a day after a different jury convicted the alleged getaway driver.
It took jurors less than three hours Wednesday to find Kenneth Williams guilty of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery.
Williams dropped his head as the verdict was read for his role as the getaway driver in the January 2013 shooting that killed Hadiya, an honor student who only days earlier performed with her school band at President Barack Obama’s second inaugural festivities.
At 10 a.m. Thursday, another jury will return to court as prosecutors and defense attorneys present closing arguments in the case against co-defendant Micheail Ward.
Two juries were seated for the trial due to competing defenses.
Prosecutors have said Hadiya and her friends were taking shelter from the rain under a canopy at Harsh Park in January 2013, when Ward and Williams mistook them for members of a rival gang. According to prosecutors, Williams was shot by a rival gang member six months earlier, and pressed Ward into shooting at the teens gathered under the canopy at Harsh Park.
On Tuesday, prosecutors showed the jury several hours of Ward’s videotaped interrogation, which ended with him confessing to shooting Hadiya and two of her friends, crying as he told detectives “I didn’t want to do that s***, man. I liked that girl.”
Ward later recanted. His defense attorneys have argued detectives coerced and manipulated Ward into a false confession. The defense also has emphasized the lack of physical evidence linking Ward to the shooting.
Prosecutors have argued surveillance video shows Ward and Williams inside the getaway car, fist-bumping each other just moments after the shooting.
Williams’ uncle said jurors got it wrong when they found him guilty.
“They found him guilty for something he did not do. He wasn’t there in the incident. They can’t find no gun. They ain’t got no fingerprints. They don’t got nothing. No evidence of anything,” Michael Beal said.
Pendleton’s family left the courthouse Wednesday, overwhelmed with joy, but made no comment to the media.