CHICAGO -- A jury on Wednesday found one of two men accused in the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton guilty of first-degree murder.
Kenneth Williams, a reputed gang member and the accused getaway driver, was found guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated battery.
Prosecutors said Williams' co-defendant, Micheail Ward, actually fired the shots that killed Pendleton. Pendleton was fatally shot just days after she performed with her high school band at former President Barack Obama's inaugural festivities. She was with friends at a park one mile from Obama's Chicago home in January 2013 when she was killed.
In closing arguments, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Brian Holmes told the jury that Williams was just as culpable in Pendleton's death as the alleged gunman.
In his 2013 State of the Union address , Obama said Pendleton had become a symbol of the senseless gun violence in Chicago.
Prosecutors have said she was caught in the crossfire of a gang feud. The murder weapon was never found, and there’s no DNA, just surveillance video of the two defendants driving around the area on the day of the shooting in car similar to one later seen speeding away.
“You can’t convict someone for being in a car with Micheail Ward, and that’s the only evidence that you have,” William’s attorney, Matt McQuaid said.
Williams family left the courthouse visibly shaken.
"They can’t find no evidence. They got no evidence and no proof of nothing. They don’t got no evidence, so they find my nephew guilty for something he did not do," Michael Beal, Williams' uncle, said.
The defense in the case against Ward rested around 4:30 p.m. He did not take the stand. Testimony continues Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Ward's trial before a separate jury.