COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton wept Wednesday as the two men accused of killing her 15-year-old daughter, Hadiya, appeared before a judge in a Cook County courtroom.
Hadiya Pendleton was gunned down in a South Side park about a mile away from President Barack Obama's Kenwood home on Jan. 29. The gunfire also injured two men who were in a group with Hadiya at the park.
Michael Ward, 18, is charged in the January shooting of Hadiya, along with Kenneth Williams, 20, who authorities said was the getaway driver. Both Ward and Williams have pleaded not guilty to the charges. They were in court Wednesday for a status hearing.
According to prosecutors, Hadiya and her friends were victims of gang-related crime. Ward, of the 300 block of West 59th Street, and Williams, of the 3900 block of South Lake Park Avenue, allegedly wanted revenge after a rival gang shot Williams and mistook some of Hadiya's group for enemy gang members.
Hadiya Pendleton's mother was led into the hallway by a court-appointed advocate, and her cries could be heard over the brief exchange between prosecutors and defense attorneys regarding evidence.
Williams, attempting to acknowledge family members in court with what appeared to be a wave, was reprimanded moments later by a sheriff's deputy as the two were taken back to the lockup.
An honor student, Hadiya performed with her high school's marching band during Obama's inauguration festivities just a week before she was killed. She was a member of the volleyball team.
First lady Michelle Obama attended her funeral in February.
The Pendleton family declined to talk after the hearing.
In the wake of her daughter's death and resulting national attention to Chicago gun violence, Cowley-Pendleton, along with her husband Nathaniel, have become high-profile advocates for gun control.