CHICAGO: An Illinois jury on Friday found the former brother-in-law of Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson guilty of murdering three members of her family in 2008.
William Balfour, 31, was found guilty of breaking into the Hudson family home and fatally shooting Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, her brother Jason Hudson, 29, and her 7-year-old nephew Julian King. He faces the possibility of life in prison without parole.
Jennifer Hudson, wearing a long black-and-white printed sweater, dabbed at her eyes after the verdict was read. She left the courthouse without making a comment.
“She was very emotional about the verdict,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said of Jennifer Hudson. “Very emotional, but very relieved.”
In a statement later, Jennifer Hudson and her sister Julia Hudson – who was married to Balfour at the time of the murders but has since then gotten a divorce – thanked God, the prosecutors, the Chicago police, and the witnesses who came forward.
“We have felt the love and support from people all over the world and we’re very grateful,” the statement said. “We want to extend a prayer from the Hudson family to the Balfour family. We have all suffered terrible loss in this tragedy.”
The statement adds that Jennifer and Julia Hudson are praying “that the Lord will forgive Mr. Balfour of these heinous acts and bring his heart into repentance some day.”
Hudson was determined to attend the 11-day trial, telling Alvarez, “This was my mother. If it was me, she would be here every day. I will be here every day.”
It was that close relationship to her mother, who would send her a text message every morning, that led Hudson to suspect something was wrong on the day of the murders. Her mother did not respond to Hudson’s text, giving authorities a sense of what time the murders occurred, prosecutor James McKay said.
Jurors said Hudson’s celebrity and the accompanying media attention on the trial, played no part in their verdict.
“She’s a celebrity. We understand that. But it wasn’t about her,” juror Tracie Austin said.
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