The parents of Hadiya Pendleton opened up Monday about her murder, which drew national attention to violence in Chicago.
Four days after a guilty verdict for Hadiya's murder, Nathaniel and Cleo say the last five years have been a very trying time. They also say they wish Hadiya's killer could get the death penalty.
“We can only go speak to a grave. No. I think it's totally unfair,” Nathaniel said.
Hadiya’s father says that if the death penalty were available in Illinois, Michaeil Ward would deserve it. Hadiya's mother agrees.
“I don't think its cruel to say that you incited this on these people, so why are you still able to live the rest of your days out and have, possibly, the opportunity to enjoy the later part of your life?” Cleo said.
Ward faces from 51 years in prison to life. He was convicted of first-degree murder for killing the 15-year-old honor student five and half years ago. Kenneth Williams, the getaway driver, faces 26 to 90 years behind bars. Hadiya's parents say the convictions give them much satisfaction, but nothing can compensate for the loss of their teenaged daughter.
“In the end, justice did prevail, and that's the only thing I can say that I'm overjoyed about,” Nathaniel said.
“It's hell. You know, there's no other way to put it. Every day you see different things, you see her friends, family, or someone who's not even related to you, having a mother-daughter time, and it is absolutely heart-wrenching. Because I’ll never have that,” Cleo said.
Hadiya's parents says that with the wait for justice finally over, it's like a weight's been lifted off their lives.
“I pray for the families that are still out there waiting for justice for their lost loved ones, because now that I have it I know what relief feels like. And I just wish it for everyone else,” Cleo said.
Ward's case is back in court on October 10th for post-trial motions. No sentencing date has been set.