After only two and a half hours of deliberations, a Cook County jury has found Kenneth Williams guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated battery in the death of Hadiya Pendleton and the injury of two of her friends.
Just before noon, closing arguments had started for Williams, one of the two men on trial in the case. A short time later, jury deliberations began. Just after 4 p.m., a verdict had been reached.
Meanwhile, the trial continued for Micheail Ward, a second man charged in the shooting.
Pendleton was with friends at a park 1 mile from Obama's Chicago home when she was shot in what prosecutors say was a botched attempt at gang retaliation.
Prosecutors say Williams, who was 20, was the getaway driver and then-18-year-old Ward was the gunman.
Separate juries are hearing the cases against Ward and Williams. The closing arguments come a little over a week after opening statements were made.
After testifying Tuesday, Hadiya Pendleton’s mother watched as Ward, the man accused of gunning down her daughter, was interrogated by police in the moments after the shooting.
The man conducting the interrogation: controversial, retired Chicago police Det. John Halloran, who confronted Ward about the contradictions in his alibi.
"You can’t lie about it, you can’t say you were at another school, you weren’t," Halloran said in the taped interrogation.
"The only thing you can do is tell the truth about what happened," he said.
At first Ward can be heard denying his role in the slaying of the 15-year-old honor student, but Halloran was insistent, telling Ward he had evidence that the alleged gang member was in the car connected to the crime: a white Nissan belonging to his mother.
"You did a shooting at 12:15 p.m., you fired into a group of 13 people, do you realize the magnitude of that?" Halloran asked Ward.
At one point, Ward’s turquoise hoodie is confiscated after detectives told him it matched one worn by the gunman.
But defense attorneys allege the interrogation process was hard on Ward and put pressure on him to offer up a false confession.
"You told him lying made him seem like a cold blooded killer who didn’t care about anyone," defense attorney Gina Piemonte said.
Prosecutors called as witnesses friends of the two men charged, and all backed away from statements made to investigators.
One even denied what transcripts showed he said in grand jury testimony after Pendleton's shooting in January 2013.
In response, Cook County prosecutors read lengthy excerpts from the three witnesses' grand jury testimony and signed statements to police. Defense attorneys suggested police threatened the witnesses into implicating the defendants.