A Chicago man charged in the shooting death of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins is expected to appear in court Thursday. Koman Willis, 33, of the 7800 block of South Saint Lawrence Avenue was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm after he allegedly shot Jonylah and her father on March 11, according to police. Willis was ordered held without bond last month.
Jonylah Watkins died March 12 after she sustained gunshots a day earlier to the thigh, shoulder, lung, liver and bowels on the 6500 block of South Maryland Avenue in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood. Jonylah was in the family van with her father when someone approached and opened fire, police said. Jonathan Watkins confirmed in a press conference Tuesday that he pulled his car over just before the shooting to change his baby’s diaper. He said he was lifting his baby up to kiss her when the shots began.
“She was crying when they were shooting,” he said. “She was looking at me eye to eye.”
Supt. Garry McCarthy said Willis shot at Jonylah’s father over a stolen video game console and that he was the intended target. It is not clear why Willis suspected Jonathan Watkins in the burglary of the console, but McCarthy said it is not likely that Watkins will be charged in the theft due to “too many variables.”
Jonathan Watkins said Tuesday that he was happy the shooter has been charged and that the death of his daughter will keep him on a drug and gang-free path.
“You’ve got to move forward. If I don’t move forward what else am I going to do?” he said. “I know my baby is out there looking down on me, I can’t change.”
McCarthy called the investigation a “milestone” and said he believes pressure from police led Willis to turn himself him.
“There came a point where we believed that we could take him into custody rather than just interview him, and we went out looking for him,” he said.