Murder Trial Continues for Jennifer Hudson’s Family
The case is prosecuting against William Balfour, Jennifer Hudson’s sister’s ex-husband, who is allegedly responsible for the murders of Hudson’s family members on October 24, 2008. The victims are Hudson’s mother Darnell Donerson, her brother Jason Hudson, 29, and her young nephew Julian King who died at the age of seven. Since the prosecutors have no surviving witnesses against Balfour, they will have to provide a large amount of circumstantial evidence against the suspect to go against the defense.
The defense has stated the lack of evidence against Balfour by telling the jurors no DNA of the suspect was found on the gun. As a result of the police’s quick arrest, Balfour’s attorneys stated that investigation was not done correctly since there was no DNA, fingerprints, or any gunshot residue to link their client to the murders. The attorneys believe that the police did not look in to other connections for suspects in the case, such as those in Jason Hudson’s past. “This really had nothing to do with (Jennifer Hudson),” Public Defender Amy Thompson stated to the jury during her opening statement. “It was what Jason was doing to make money for their family as he worked as a drug dealer in Englewood.” The attorney brought up the victim’s past alleged drug dealing and the people he associated with.
With lack of DNA evidence, the prosecutors are going to have to look elsewhere for convincing evidence. The evidence involves “cellphone records and security-camera footage that place Balfour in the area of the killings, since he denies he was there” (NY Daily News).
Hudson attracted a lot of national and local news media during her testimony against her former brother-in-law. She gave a beautiful image of her family by telling the jury how close her family was before the grisly murders took place. She stated, “I slept with my mom until I was 16 years old.” The singer also told the jury how she would leave signed blank checks for her mother to help pay the household bills. The last time the singer saw her mother was on a Sunday, a few days before the killings. Hudson stated that she remembered that day because the entire family came over to eat.
Prosecutors accused the suspect of murdering the family for revenge when Hudson’s sister, Julia Hudson, told him her intention to divorce. Hudson said she had dreadful feeling that something was wrong on the day the murders took place since her mother never sent her daily morning text at 9am.
During her testimony, the singer/actress gave a vivid description of her family’s hesitation and fear for her sister when Julia married Balfour. She often broke down in tears as she described her loving family life. On the stand Hudson stated, “We didn’t like the way he treated her, and I didn’t like the way he treated my nephew.” The singer said she was never friends with him back when they knew each other in their junior high school. With her disgust of her brother in law heavy in her voice, she told the jury, “I tried to keep my distance from William Balfour.” Her testimony lasted close to an hour before she was finally asked to leave the stand. After her direct walk past the jurors, with tissues in her hand, she sat down with her fiancé, David Otunga. For protection, the singer had a bodyguard and two deputies at the bench she sat.
Hudson’s sister has even testified that Balfour threatened her and her family repeatedly but never went to the police due to her disbelief. She stated that she didn’t believe he would go through with his threats. She stated their relation took a turn for the worse in 2007 when she found out about Balfour’s affair with three other women. Balfour’s former wife told the jury of his constant jealousy against her family, even her son from a past relationship. “Julian couldn’t kiss me. ‘Don’t kiss my wife,'” she said Balfour would tell her then 6-year-old son, Julian.” (ABC News). Julia was the one who found the slain bodies of her beloved family and called 911. She then told Hudson about the killings of their family members. Jennifer had to fly over and identify the bodies of each of her family members, including her nephew whom she often watched over.
The trial is expected to last close to a month with the attorneys’ witnesses and evidence. Only then will the jury be allowed to reach their verdict. What the verdict will be only time and evidence will tell.
Photos courtesy of Scott Aza Jordan, Staff Sgt. Bradley Lail USAF, and David Torcivia via WikiCommons.