FILE - In this Aug. 23, 2018 file photo, defendant Micheail Ward appears just before closing arguments in his case during the trial for the fatal shooting of Hadiya Pendleton at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago. Ward faces more than 50 years in prison during his sentencing hearing Monday, Jan 14, 2019. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Pool, File)

Gunman gets 84-year term in Chicago honor student's killing

January 14, 2019 - 4:12 pm

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge has imposed an 84-year prison sentence on a Chicago man who fatally shot a 15-year-old honor student a week after she performed at President Barack Obama's 2013 inauguration festivities.

Cook County Judge Nicholas Ford handed down the sentence to 24-year-old Micheail Ward on Monday, five months after Ward was convicted of murder and aggravated battery in the killing of Hadiya Pendleton.

Ward protested his innocence in what the Chicago Tribune characterized as rambling remarks.

Pendleton became a symbol of Chicago's gang violence when she was caught in the crossfire of a gang feud she had nothing to do with. Obama spoke of her death during his 2013 State of the Union address, and then-first lady Michelle Obama attended her funeral.

Getaway driver Kenneth Williams also was convicted and is awaiting sentencing.

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