A Chicago jury has convicted Jennifer Hudson’s former brother-in-law of the bloody shooting deaths of the Oscar and Grammy winning singer/actress' mother, brother and nephew in October 2008. Hudson was present for the verdict and teared up as she stood beside her fiance David Otunga.
The jury returned guilty verdicts against William Balfour after about 18 hours of deliberation over three days. Jurors told the court in a note earlier today that they were "split" on a verdict but would continue deliberations, reports CBS 2.
"Balfour was found guilty of three counts of murder, as well as home invasion, residential burglary, aggravated kidnapping and possession of a stolen vehicle. He faces life in prison, without possibility of early release. Public defender Amy Thompson said Balfour’s attorneys would file a motion for a new trial and an appeal."
The Sun-Times adds:
Jurors heard evidence for 11 days from 84 witnesses, ranging from crack addicts to ballistic experts to officers who found the bodies of Darnell Donerson, 57, Jason Hudson, 29, and 7-year-old Julian Hudson. Balfour did not testify in his own defense...
Though he had at least three girlfriends, Balfour was angry that his then wife, Julia Hudson, was seeing another man, witnesses testified. He had repeatedly threatened to kill her and her family if she left him but Julia Hudson didn’t take him seriously, witnesses said. ... Defense attorneys argued that the murders were a drug hit brought on by Jason Hudson’s crack business.
Prosecutors say Balfour was separated from Jennifer's sister at the time of the killing spree.
On October 24, 2008, the Hudson's 57-year old mother was found at the family home in a pool of blood. Their 29-year-old brother Jason was shot twice in the head as he lay in bed. Seven-year-old Julian King, Julia Hudson's son from a previous relationship, was found three days later.
Jennifer Hudson was the first witness to testify against Balfour. Hudson testified that she has known Balfour since grade school—for at least two decades—but never liked him. The singer/actress also sat through most of the trial that attracted press from across the country.
Balfour faces life in prison without parole.
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