Jury Selection Begins in Trial of Men Accused in Hadiya Pendleton's Fatal Shooting

Jury selection was slated to begin Friday for one of the suspects accused in the fatal shooting of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old honor student who was killed at a South Side park in January 2013.

The process will begin first for alleged accomplice Kenneth Williams, then Micheail Ward, the accused shooter, will have a jury selected for his portion of the trial on Monday.

Pendleton's death drew nationwide attention, as the drum majorette had performed at then-President Barack Obama's inaugural festivities just days earlier. Then-first lady Michelle Obama attended Pendleton's funeral, bringing gun violence in Chicago into the spotlight.

Prosecutors are said to be going forward with no physical evidence or a murder weapon, but will rely heavily on a video confession of one of the suspects.

The men will have separate juries because they have conflicting defenses, but their fate will be decided at the same time.

Prosecutors say she was the unintended target caught in the middle of a gang war.

In a video recorded confession, Ward told police that Pendleton had “nothing to do with it” and “she was just there.”

The Chicago Tribune reports that the juries will only hear a portion of the taped statement to Chicago police, which the defense has complained hurts Ward’s case that claims he was coerced to confess.

After jury selection is complete, the trial for both men was expected to begin on Tuesday.

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