Suspects in Hidaya Pendelton’s death plead not guilty

1 victim,  two suspects and more than a hundred first degree murder counts charged in the high profile murder case that even has the attention of the White House.

The two suspects in the death of honor student Hidaya Pendelton stood before the court today and plead not guilty.

18-year-old Michael Ward and 20-year-old Kenneth Williams were collectively hit with over a hundred first degree murder charges in the single death of Pendleton. Ward, the alleged shooter was slapped with 141 counts. Williams is accused of driving the getaway car and charged with 17. Critics suggest the Cook County state’s attorney is trying to make a big splash by overcharging the men in a case known coast to coast.

Legal analyst Terry Sullivan calls the charges overreaching.

William’s attorney says he’s never seen anything like it and his client is innocent.

While the two men were hit with more than one hundred first degree murder charges, if found guilty, they will be sentenced by the guidelines matching the crime with the worst of penalties.  There are varying levels and many of these charges will likely be dropped before or during the course of the trial as the case takes shape.

Moments after leaving a Cook County courtroom, Nathaniel Pendleton spoke with the media and explained how he feels after laying eyes for the first time on the two men charged with killing his teenage daughter. It’s hard, he says, but the job is now in the hands of prosecutors.

“You are going to feel some bit of anger, but right now everything is on them. I have more than enough confidence that they will do what they need to do to make justice happen,” he said.

His daughter was slain in this park last January, just one week after attending President Obama’s inauguration in Washington DC. The honor roll student has become a national symbol for proposed gun  legislation. The First Lady attended her funeral here in Chicago. The Pendletons attended the President’s  State of the Union Address and today, Mrs. Pendleton was in Washington again, while Obama urged the public to support proposed gun laws

The suspects remain in custody. They are next in court on May 6th.

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