Trial begins for Chicago man accused of murdering teacher

Dominique Hodrick

CHICAGO — After nearly four years of legal wrangling, the trial of a man charged in the 2014 shooting death of a Chicago special education teacher is underway.

Dominique Hodrick is charged with murder in the death of 58-year-old Betty Howard. Howard was working part time at a realty company when she was shot.

In opening statements Monday, Assistant State’s Attorney Ashley Romito told jurors the 27-year-old Hodrick was in a nearby apartment building “stewing” about gang rivals on the block. He then stepped outside to fire at a car “that doesn’t belong there.” The bullets went through a wall, killing Howard.

Defense attorney Bernard Shelton said Hodrick knew of rumors that he killed the “old lady.” But Hodrick told police he had a .22-caliber gun, and a 9 mm gun killed Howard.

Hodrick also is charged in the 2012 slaying of a 17-year-old boy. He is awaiting trial on those charges.