Crusader staff report
Kenneth Williams, a big-time gang member who drove the getaway car after 15-year-old Hadiyah Pendleton was fatally shot in the back in 2013, was convicted of first degree murder by a Cook County jury on Wednesday, August 22.
His accomplice, Micheail Ward, the man who fatally shot Hadiyah Pendleton five years ago at Harsh Park, was convicted of first degree murder on Thursday, August 24.
The verdict brought to an end years of waiting for justice for Pendleton’s mother, Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley. She wept at a news conference that was held after the verdict was announced.
Ward remained stoic as he learned his fate.
Prosecutors said Williams 25, drove the car after his co-defendant sprayed bullets into a crowd at Harsh Park in Kenwood. Police said the group was mistaken for a rival gang in a retaliation shooting.
Witnesses during the trial denied or said they never saw Williams or Ward during the shooting, despite sworn statements they made in pre-trial hearings. Prosecutors read their statements to the jury, hoping jurors would accept the witnesses’ original, written testimony.
Hadiya was an honor student and majorette at King College Prep High School. She was gunned down one week after she performed for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.