Two men, Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 28, have been charged in the ‘high profile murder case’ of Hadiya Pendleton. The 15-year-old, who was a majorette and honor student at King College Prep High School, was killed on Jan. 29, in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park, Chicago a few days succeeding her performance at President Obama’s Inauguration in Washington.
Officials report that Ward confessed to the shooting, which he claimed was a gang-related retaliation. Pendleton and her friends were mistaken targets. 18 year-old Eagle Scout, Lawrence Sellers who was a friend of the deceased, was also shot in the lower leg when the shooting erupted.
On Monday, Ward and Williams were charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. On Tuesday, the court ordered both men be held without bail. According to prosecutors, Ward was the alleged shooter, and Williams was the getaway driver. Though the Pendleton family is relieved and comforted by the arrests, the city’s growing problem with gun violence is being widely publicized.
Ward’s Ward’s attorney, Jeffrey Granich, proclaims that his client was railroaded because of the high-profile homicide. In a statement issued to reporters, Granish states,
the problem when criminal cases get made into political cases is rules are bent…we do not call people murderers or convict people before a trial has begun, before any evidence has been brought to court.
Williams’ attorney, Matthew McQuaid, also stated that his client asserts non-involvement with the shooting.
Prosecutors contest that they have phone records placing Williams near the crime scene on the day of the shooting.
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