Jennifer Hudson's family murder trial: William Balfour found guilty
The jury read a verdict in the murder trial of William Balfour, the man charged with murdering Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.
Balfour was found guilty on all counts and faces a mandatory life sentence. Hudson, her fiancé and her sister were on-hand when the jury announced the verdict on May 11, 2012.
The jury, which consisted of six men and six women, deliberated for about 18 hours over three days and heard testimony from more than 80 witnesses and were introduced to nearly 500 pieces of evidence during the trial, before coming to their decision.
Hudson and her family left the courthouse without talking to reporters. Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said that Hudson was "emotional, but relieved" about the verdict.
"We have many people to thank but our first thank you is to God, always. We are so grateful to prosecutors James McKay, Jennifer Bagby and Veryl Gambino and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and her team for their dedication and tireless work from the beginning," Hudson said in a statement on her official website. "We have the best police department and they have been with us every step of the way. We thank all of the State's witnesses who came forward on our behalf. We have felt the love and support from people all over the world and we're very grateful. We want to extend a prayer from the Hudson family to the Balfour family. We have all suffered terrible loss in this tragedy... It is our prayer that the Lord will forgive Mr. Balfour of these heinous acts and bring his heart into repentance someday."
Hudson went on to quote 2 Corinthian 4:3-4, writing, "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that perish: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them."
Hudson took the witness stand in April and broke down in tears during her testimony. The singer was the first witness called by prosecutors and spoke for 50 minutes describing her close relationship with her mother and her family's apprehension of her sister Julia Hudson marrying Balfour.
Prosecutors said Balfour, the 30-year-old ex-husband of Hudson's sister, shot the family in a jealous rage because Julia Hudson was dating another man. The bodies of Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29, were found shot to death in the family's home on Oct. 24, 2008.
Hudson testified that she flew down to Chicago to be with her family and identify the bodies of her mother and brother. She later put up a $100,000 reward to find her nephew, Julian King, but the 7-year-old's body was found three days later. Hudson also identified his body as well, according to the WLS report.
Hudson's fiancé, David Otunga, was in the courthouse and Hudson sat next to him once her testimony was over.
Balfour pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder. The Oscar-winner's singer Julia Hudson also testified at the trial, later that day. She said that her ex-husband was prone to jealousy and described threats he made.
"He said, 'If you leave me, you will be the last to die. I'll kill your family first,'" Julia Hudson said, according to the Associated Press. Under cross-examination, Julia Hudson admitted she was still having sex with Balfour days before the slayings.
During opening statements, Defense Attorney Amy Thompson suggested to jurors that the murders might have been a result of Jason Hudson's alleged drug dealing.
Julia Hudson testified that Jason Hudson owned .45 caliber gun, the type of weapon prosecutors allege the murder used in the killings. She added that the gun was stolen from Jason Hudson's home twice. The first time it was returned, the second time gun never resurfaced.
Hudson, the 2004 "American Idol" finalist and 2007 Oscar winner for her role in "Dreamgirls, has stayed away from interviews about the murders but briefly spoke about her mother and brother during an interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in February 2011.
"I try to do everything to say, 'OK, will my mother like this? Will she be pleased? Will she be proud of that? How do I know she's happy and she's smiling down at me from heaven?'" Hudson said. "And that's what I try to go by and walk by."
Since the traumatic event the singer welcomed a son with fiancé David Otunga named David Daniel Otunga Jr. on August 10, 2009.