Koman Willis, 33 (pictured above right), has been charged with first-degree murder in the March 11 shooting death of 6-month old Jonylah Watkins, according to officials.
Willis was also charged with aggravated battery for shooting her father, Jonathan Watkins, according to Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Atty. Anita Alvarez.
“[Jonylah’s parents] are very grateful and thankful,” said family pastor, New Beginnings Church Rev. Corey Brooks. “Hopefully they’ll be able to put this part behind them and go forward.”
They spent Memorial Day at Jonylah’s grave-site.
During a press conference, police superintendent Garry F. McCarthy said that Willis targeted Watkins “in retaliation for a stolen video game system.”
“Mr. Willis has been a suspect for a very long time,” McCarthy said. “The question was whether or not we could show it in a court of law.”
[Willis] has prior convictions for aggravated assault of a police officer from a 2002 incident in which he was sentenced to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, a 2007 conviction for drugs for which he was sentenced to one year in prison, and a conviction for a 2005 drug charge for which he received a year in prison. He also was convicted on a 1998 weapons charge for which he received probation, according to court records.
Willis turned himself in Saturday accompanied by an attorney.
Watkins was shot in the buttocks, face and side, but survived the hit.
Baby Jonylah was shot in the “thigh, shoulder, lung, liver and bowels,” according to family. She held on to life overnight, but died the next morning at Comer Children’s Hospital.
Her father was changing her diaper in the front seat of their van at the time of the shooting.
Jonylah’s parents, in the company of the preacher, reportedly held hands when they received news of the arrest.
“Everyone wished it could be sooner, but we know for a fact that police are diligent and hard working,” New Beginnings Church Rev. Corey Brooks.
See ABC Chicago news report below:
Jonathan Watkins belonged to a gang and has a long criminal history, which police believe to be the motivation of the shooting. Since his baby’s murder, however, he has made drastic changes.
“The fact that he is working now, the fact that he is getting a GED all of that stuff was not happening before,” Brooks said.
Formal charges have not been made and the name of the suspect has not been released.
- ^the Chicago Tribune: (www.chicagotribune.com)
- ^ABC Chicago. (abclocal.go.com)
- ^NewsOne (newsone.com)
- ^6-Month-Old Chicago Baby Shot 5 Times In Alleged Gang-Ralated Attack Against Father (newsone.com)
- ^Funeral Held For 6-Month-Old Baby Killed In Chicago Shooting (newsone.com)