Bond denied for men charged in murder of Hadiya Pendleton
Bond has been denied for two reputed gang members accused of shooting 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton.
Micheail Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, are both charged with first degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.
Chicago police detectives arrested the suspects Saturday night as they were on their way to a strip club in Harvey to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
“I’m happy that they have these two guys and I’m glad that they charged them, but it’s not over yet,” said Hadiya’s father, Nathaniel Pendleton. “I’m looking for the conviction.”
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says Ward has confessed to pulling the trigger and Williams is the accused getaway driver.
Detectives say the motive was revenge for a shooting back in July by a rival gang, in which Williams was wounded. McCarthy says police made an arrest in that case, but Williams refused to press charges.
He says instead, on January 29 Ward and Williams mistook Hadiya Pendleton and her friends for members of that rival gang and shot at them, killing Hadiya and injuring two others.
“What rival gang goes and shoots girls?” Nathaniel Pendleton asks. “They was a volleyball team. To me, it wasn’t a rival gang thing. They were cowards.”
McCarthy believes this tragedy could have been avoided if Illinois had mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes.
Ward, the accused shooter, was arrested in 2011 on a weapons charge. He pled guilty and was sentenced to two years probation.
“This has to stop,” McCarthy told reporters. “Gun offenders have to do significant jail time. Criminals have to be held accountable. And there has to be a certainty of punishment when we arrest somebody with an illegal firearm.”
The Chicago Tribune reports Ward was still on the street after he violated probation three times for break-ins and for trespassing. In two of those cases the violations were never reported to the prosecutor or the judge. Now the director of the Cook County probation office admits there was an oversight on the side of his department and he promises an investigation.