CHICAGO (CBS) — Five years after her murder made national headlines, the two men charged with killing 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton are set to go on trial starting Friday.
“I don’t know what to expect. So, honestly, I’m just going to court every day, and I’m going to pray every day that justice is served,” her mother Cleo Pendleton said earlier this year of the upcoming trial.
Hadiya was shot and killed in a park in Kenwood just one week after performing with her school drill team at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.
An honor student at King College Prep High School, she was killed when purported gang members fired into a crowd on Jan. 29, 2013, about a mile from the Obama family home.
Michael Ward, now 24, and Kenneth Williams, now 25, were charged with first-degree murder two weeks after Hadiya’s death. Investigators said Hadiya was not their intended target. They allegedly mistook the teen and her group of friends for rival gang members.
The case has slowly made its way through the system. Ward and Williams originally were to face trial in April, but their judge pushed back the case due to a scheduling issue with an expert witness.
Jury selection now will begin Friday morning, and is expected to last for about two days. Opening statements are expected to begin Tuesday.
For Hadiya’s family, it has been five and a half long years waiting for justice. Since her murder, they have done everything they can to honor her memory.
She would have turned 21 in June.
Every year since the murder, her family and friends have celebrated her birthday by wearing orange, her favorite color. In her honor, Wear Orange Day has become a national movement to remember shooting victims nationwide.