May 11, 2012


Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Verdict: Guilty On All Counts

Larry Busacca
Larry Busacca

After a three-week trial and 18 hours of deliberation, a Chicago jury found William Balfour—the man accused of killing three of Jennifer Hudson's family members—guilty of first-degree murder on all three counts. When the verdict was announced Friday afternoon, Hudson cried silently while her fiancé held her hand, according to reports.

Julia Hudson, Jennifer's sister, was granted a divorce by the courts from Balfour just last year and was also present. Balfour faces a possible life sentence, although the defense maintained his innocence and said there will be an appeal.

Deliberation began Wednesday, May 9, but the jury was unable to come to a conclusion by the end of the day. Thursday’s deliberation also failed to deliver a verdict, but on Friday, the jurors decided the evidence against Balfour was compelling enough to find him guilty on all three counts of murder.

Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, brother Jason Hudson, 29, and nephew Julian King, 7, were found murdered in October 2008. Donerson and Hudson were found shot in the family's Chicago home, while King was found shot to death several days later in a stolen SUV.

In the closing arguments on Wednesday, the prosecution urged jurors to convict Hudson's brother-in-law due to the "tsunami" of circumstantial evidence, including firearm-related evidence and witness testimonies that Balfour repeatedly threatened to kill his wife's family. The prosecution alleged that Balfour committed the murders in a jealous rage, thinking his estranged wife was seeing another man. The defense noted that neither Balfour's DNA nor fingerprints were found at the scene.

On the first day of the trial, an upset Jennifer Hudson took the stand and testified that she had repeatedly warned her sister Julia Hudson not to marry Balfour, saying, "We didn't like the way he treated her, and I didn't like the way he treated my nephew [Balfour's son-in-law]."

A sentencing date has yet to be announced.