CHICAGO (CBS) — Jurors have reached a verdict in the first-degree murder charges against Micheail Ward, the alleged gunman in the 2013 slaying of honor student Hadiya Pendleton, one day after a separate jury convicted getaway driver Kenneth Williams.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys presented their closing arguments Thursday morning, and Ward’s jury was given their instructions in the afternoon, before being sent to begin deliberations around 1:30 p.m.
Two juries were seated in the trial, because of competing defenses.
According to prosecutors, Ward shot and killed Hadiya in January 2013 at Harsh Park, as she and a group of friends were taking cover from the rain, after he and Williams mistook them for rival gang members. Police and prosecutors have said the shooting was retaliation for a gang shooting that left Williams wounded six months earlier.
Prosecutors wrapped up their case against Ward on Wednesday by showing his jury several hours of his videotaped interrogation, which ended with him tearfully admitting to shooting Hadiya and two of her friends.
“I didn’t want to do that s***, man. I liked that girl,” Ward told detectives.
Ward later recanted, and his defense attorneys have argued detectives coerced and manipulated Ward into a false confession.
Defense attorneys also have argued there is no physical evidence linking either Ward or Williams to the crime.
The jury that convicted Williams in the case deliberated less than three hours before returning the guilty verdict.