Hadiya Pendelton, the marching band girl who was killed in Chicago just a week after performing during President Obama’s inauguration, is finally getting justice as her alleged killer was charged with 141 counts of murder.
Michael Ward, the suspected gunman, plead not guilty to 141 counts of first-degree murder alone. He was also indicted on eight counts of attempted murder. The alleged get-away driver, Kenneth Williams, was charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. Both boys were also charged with two counts of aggravated battery, 10 counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and one count of mob action.
The irony here is tragic and heart-wrenching. Pendelton was killed less than a week after traveling to greater Washington for the 52nd Inauguration and less than a mile from President Obama’s home in the Kenwood neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.
The father is understandably numb to the announcement that the killers are being brought to justice. “It’s a long road we gotta cross, so right now there’s really no feelings,” Hadiya’s father, Nathaniel Pendleton, told reporters after attending the brief court hearing. “While they’re doing their job, I gotta do what I can do on the outside – which is trying to do whatever I can to practice non-violence.”
The attorney for the alleged killer blasted Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez for what he considers are wasteful and exorbitant charges designed to ride the spotlight in this case that has received national attention.
“I want to ask (Alvarez): ‘Why are you doing this?’ ” said Jeff Granich, Ward’s lawyer. “It’s ridiculous and stupid. It’s an extremely cheap way of getting attention. It’s a waste of paper.
“It’s a stunt,” he said, according to the Chicago Tribune.