The Evanston man charged with murder in the shooting death of 14-year-old Evanston Township High School freshman Dajae Coleman appeared in court Tuesday and is set to enter a plea next week.
Watching as Wesley Woodson, 20, took the stand was Dajae Coleman's mother, Tiffany Rice, along with several family and friends. Ald. Jane Grover (7th Ward) was also present.
"I know it's going to be a long road ahead of us," said Rice, who also has a 7-year-old daughter. "I will be present during every proceeding to make sure justice is served in my son's name."
Woodson is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in the Coleman's death Sept. 22. Police say Woodson, who is affiliated with the a local street gang, mistook Coleman for someone he knew, and described the shooting as “a retaliatory act upon an innocent group of teens with no gang affiliations.”
Earlier: Details of Woodson's prior weapons charge released
Woodson appeared in Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie on Tuesday morning, where he was formally indicted on the charges. His next court date is set for Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 206, when he will likely enter a plea.
Evanston police say Coleman, an honor student who had just started his freshman year, attended a large party on McDaniel Avenue the night of Saturday, Sept. 22. A parent broke up the party after two girls started fighting around 10 p.m., and roughly 150 teens began walking east on Church Street toward Evanston Township High School.
Dajae Coleman: The Story So Far
Several groups started fighting, and one of those fights involved a person Woodson knew, police said. Someone called Woodson to tell him about the fight, and Woodson started walking east from his home toward the 1500 block of Church Street, carrying a 9-millimeter gun.
When Woodson saw Dajae and his friends, he mistook the group for the group he knew, and fired four shots, police said. Dajae and his friends started to run away, and as they were running, Dajae was shot in the back. The bullet exited through his chest, and he died at the scene.
Woodson has several prior criminal charges on his record, including a recent case where he and two other men were charged with threatening a fourth man with a pistol in Butler Park. A judge ruled that she did not have enough evidence to convict Woodson, but admonished him to change his life.