Controversial cop who got confession in Hadiya Pendleton murder case testifies

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CHICAGO — In a taped confession heard in court Tuesday, Hadiya Pendleton shooting suspect Micheail Ward can be heard saying he "didn't want to" shoot the 15-year-old, but the alleged confession was later recanted.

The cop credited with getting Ward to speak, Detective John Halloran, has a checkered history when it comes to confessions. He once worked under infamous commander John Burge, who was charged with torturing hundreds of suspects. He was also named in three lawsuits that cost the city more than $7 million.

Ward’s public defender cross-examined Halloran aggressively about the tactics he used as he interrogated Ward in a small interview room over 20 hours at Area Central police station. Officials say Halloran told Ward he was picked out of a photo and physical line up, when he was only tentatively identified. A witness at the park when Pendleton was killed did positively identify Ward as the shooter, although on that day he wasn't sure.

During his interrogation, Ward's alibi of where he was on January 29, 2013, was that he was leaving the house to pick up his brothers from school. His version did not coincide with the testimony of two other men who were with him that day, or surveillance cameras from private homes, a CHA building and a police department camera placed high on the street.

"He changed his alibi and then he changed it again. I was trying to get to the truth," Halloran said.

On cross-examination, Ward’s public defender asked questions about the room he was kept in for so long during the interrogation, about how he was not made comfortable, how the detectives yelled and at him cursed and how Ward was bullied and intimidated into a confession.

Ward was 18 when he was picked up 10 days after the 15-year-old drum majorette was shot to death, her killing a case of mistaken identity. Police said she and some friends accidentally walked into the middle of a territory conflict between two gangs known as the "Suwu," which Ward was allegedly a member of, and the "4-6 Terror Gang."


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