A jury took less than two hours to convict a reputed gang member of firing shots at rivals that struck and killed a special education teacher four years ago in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood.
Dominique Hodrick, 26, faces between 40 and 80 years in prison after Wednesday’s conviction in the May 2014 slaying of Betty Howard.
A teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks Preparatory Academy, Howard was killed while dropping off paperwork at her second job at a real estate office in the 700 block of East 79th Street.
Authorities alleged that Hodrick had spotted a rival gang member driving by, pulled a gun from his waist and shot at the passing car.
Several shots fired from outside ripped through the wall of the office, fatally striking Howard, a married mother of two adult children, as she chatted with co-workers.
The bullets also grazed one of Howard’s co-workers and a woman walking her Shih Tzu outside.
Hodrick’s attorney countered that the shots that killed Howard came from a 9 mm, not the .22-caliber pistol that his client told authorities he fired.
Hodrick’s lawyer, Bernard Shelton, said the fatal shot must have come from someone else.
While the three-day trial, which began Monday, came after nearly four years of legal wrangling and repeated delays, the jury took little time deciding the case. They began deliberating at 3:25 p.m. and reached their verdict by 5:15 p.m., according to court documents.
Hodrick was also convicted of discharge of a firearm. He returns to court April 26.
Trial opens in 2014 slaying of teacher caught in South Side gang shooting »
Suspect in death of special ed teacher is charged with another fatal shooting »