A jury on Thursday found a second suspect guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of a 15-year-old high school honor student whose death in 2013 became a symbol of Chicago's random gun violence. The jury concluded Micheail Ward, who was 18 at the time, was guilty of firing the fatal shot that struck Hadiya Pendleton in the back. On Wednesday, a separate jury found the man accused of driving the getaway car, Kenneth Williams, guilty of first-degree murder as well. During the trial, jurors watched a video in which Ward confessed to killing the teenager a little more than a week after she returned from Washington, where she performed as a majorette with her high school band at President Obama's inauguration festivities, the AP reports.
Ward said he did not want to open fire at the park on the city's South Side where Pendleton and friends were gathered after completing their final exams. But he said Williams told him if he did not do it Williams would kill him. Ward said he got out of the car he and Williams were in and walked over to a fence and opened fire on the group of young people whom he believed were members of a rival gang. The murder came to symbolize random gun violence in Chicago because of the girl's own history and her connection to the then-president and first lady. The killing prompted Michelle Obama to return to Chicago, first to attend the teen's funeral and then later to tell an audience gathered not far from where she herself grew up, "Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her."
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