|Man Charged in Chicago Baby Slaying|
|By ALYSSA NEWCOMB (@AlyssaNewcomb)||May 27, 2013, 9:14 AM|
A Chicago man was charged today in the drive-by shooting death of a 6-month-old baby who was sprayed with bullets as she sat with her father in a parked car almost three months ago.
First-degree murder and aggravated battery charges were filed today against 33-year-old Koman Willis, stemming from the March 11 shooting that killed Jonylah Watkins and wounded her father, Jonathan Watkins.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said at a news conference today that police believe Willis intended to shoot Jonathan Watkins in retaliation for a stolen video game system.
"Jonylah was obviously not the intended target of this assault. Her father, Jonathan, was," McCarthy said.
He described Willis as a "documented gang member" who had 38 previous arrests.
McCarthy called the charges a "milestone" in the case that rattled the community and said Willis "has been a suspect for a very long time.
"The question was whether or not we could show it in a court of law," he said.
Willis is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday.
Corey Brooks, a pastor who has served as the Watkins' spokesman, told ABC's Chicago station WLS-TV that much of the daily policework required cooperation from Jonathan Watkins.
"Everyone wished it could be sooner, but we know for a fact that police are diligent and hardworking," Brooks said.
During the investigation, police said that Watkins had known gang affiliations, but Brooks said Watkins was not affiliated with any of Chicago's four major street gangs and had not been in trouble with the law since 2007.
Since the shooting, Brooks said Watkins had been inspired to better his life.
"He's working now. The fact that he's getting a GED, all of that stuff, was not happening before," Brooks said. "Even though this was a horrific thing that happened, we are going to try to do our very best to make their life a better life."
ABC News' Kevin Dolak contributed to this report.