Statements in Chicago teen’s killing to be used at trial

March 23, 2016 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — A man accused of fatally shooting a Chicago honors student claims a gang leader had pressured him to open fire, according to interviews with police.

Recently released transcripts of police interviews with Micheail Ward offer a glimpse into the tactics used by officers while investigating the death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/1XMR39b ) reported. She was killed a week after performing at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in January 2013.

Documents show officers tried to use the national attention garnered by Pendleton’s death to convince Ward to speak following his arrest. One detective told Ward that Obama was aware of Hadiya’s slaying and that the FBI had offered to help with the investigation.

Ward eventually told police that he felt pressured by co-defendant Kenneth Williams, a gang superior in the 4-6 Terror faction of the Gangster Disciples, to open fire into the park where Hadiya and other King College Prep High School honors students were seeking shelter from a rainstorm.


“I didn’t want to do it.... I didn’t want to do it at all,” Ward told detectives.

According to the transcripts, he also claimed that he “didn’t have a choice” but to get involved in a gang dispute after his friend was killed.

“We ain’t got no choice if we out there getting killed every day,” he said in an interview.

Ward’s lawyers have tried to block prosecutors from using his admissions at trial. They argued that police psychologically coerced and lied to Ward.

But Judge Nicholas Ford ruled Tuesday that Ward understood what he was doing when he talked to police and that his statements can be used at trial.

A trial date hasn’t been set, but Ward’s attorney said Tuesday that she likely will need another year to prepare.

Ward and Williams have pleaded not guilty in the case.


Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com