William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

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Normal William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

Post by lisette on Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:45 pm

A judge has set an April start date for the trial of William Balfour, who is accused of killing Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew in Chicago in 2008.

Hudson is a former "American Idol" contestant best known for her Oscar-winning performance in the movie musical "Dreamgirls."

Balfour is the estranged husband of her sister, Julia.

He was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and home invasion after allegedly shooting Darnell Donerson, 57, Jason Hudson, 29, and Julian King, 7.

E! News said Cook County Judge Charles Burns announced Thursday jury selection for Balfour's trial is to begin April 9, with testimony to begin April 23.

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I thought there was a thread about this incident, but I couldn't find it.
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Normal Re: William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:36 pm

There was a thread on CSO.

Thanks for letting us know about this. Jennifer has Really been through it.

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Normal Re: William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

Post by Nama on Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:06 pm

Potential jurors got their first look Thursday at the man accused in the 2008 slayings of actress and singer Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew ahead of trial testimony set to begin later this month.
When Judge Charles Burns introduced, a deferential William Balfour tugged nervously on his tie as he turned to face the some 150 would-be jurors, and said firmly, "Good afternoon, everybody." Many of the would-be jurors responded in unison: "Good afternoon.'"
The offbeat moment came in a Chicago courtroom just before the judge read a 300-name list of potential witnesses that includes Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson. Prosecutors allege Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson's sister, shot the family in a jealous rage because Julia Hudson was dating another man.
The 30-year-old defendant appeared in court wearing a white dress shirt, yellow tie and shiny black shoes. His hair -- bushy and disheveled in previous court appearances -- was newly cut short per the judge's order earlier this week.
The pool of potential jurors filled out questionnaires that will help determine if they will be among the 12 jurors and six alternates who will sit in judgment of Balfour. It's a practice not uncommon in
high profile trials, explained DePaul Law Professor Stephan Landsman.
"What have people seen on television, heard on the radio, and read in the newspapers? Those kinds of background questions are critical because you don't want jurors sitting on the case who have gathered a great deal of information or think they have," he said. "We live in a media-saturated world, and you're not going to find people who have no information about the parties here, but what you're looking for is people who can be fair."
Some of those crowded on the courtroom benches gasped and their eyes widened when the judge read the name of the case and the indictment, presumably realizing for the first time they might be part of the high-profile, celebrity trial. When the judge asked if anyone was closely acquainted with any of the witness names he read, about 10 of the possible jurors raised their hands.
Jennifer Hudson, 30, who won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2007 for her role in "Dreamgirls" and a Grammy for best R&B album the same year of the killings, did not attend proceedings on Thursday, though she is expected to attend once testimony gets under way.
Standing at his high judge's bench, occasionally pacing, Judge Burns spoke at length about the gravity of jurors' duties if selected. Striking a professorial tone, he emphasized repeatedly that they should not allow anything they have heard about the killings to affect their judgment.
"Cases in our country are not tried on street corners or over dinner or in the media," the lanky gray-haired judge told them. "They are tried in the courtroom."
Potential jurors should avoid reading, listening to or watching the news, and they should not surf the Internet, the judge instructed them sternly.
"No Twitter, no Facebook, no LinkedIn," he said.
Burns has also strictly barred reporters from tweeting or posting messages to Facebook from inside the courtroom, a court spokesman explaining that he didn't want constant typing on cell phones to distract jurors and other courtroom participants.
In another bid to ensure the intense media interest in the case doesn't undercut the process, jury names will be kept secret until after the verdict in an effort to prevent reporters or others trying to contact the panelists during the trial.
Jennifer Hudson reportedly told investigators she talked to her mother in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood every day and knew something was wrong when she hadn't heard from her by late in the morning of Oct. 24, 2008.
Several hours later, Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29, were found shot to death in the family's home. The body of her nephew Julian King was found days later in a vehicle several miles away.

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Normal Re: William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

Post by Nama on Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:07 pm

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Normal Re: William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:33 am

The ONLY reason this case is "high profile" is due to Jennifer Hudson. I think the world of her but had this been a crime not connected to anyone famous, we'd probably not even know about it. MOO.

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Normal Hudson star power to complicate murder trial

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:58 pm

By CARYN ROUSSEAU and MICHAEL TARM | Associated Press – Sun, Apr 8, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) — Accustomed to wearing Vera Wang gowns on red carpets, singing at the Grammys or autographing her weight-loss memoir, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson will take on a new role under a very different spotlight — in Chicago's drab criminal courts building at the trial of the man charged with murdering her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.

The Hollywood star's presence, and the accompanying media hubbub, is bound to affect the proceedings, which begin Monday. That's when presiding Judge Charles Burns plans to start questioning would-be jurors one by one, trying to weed out anyone who could be swayed by Hudson's celebrity status.

Hudson is expected to be at the trial every day once testimony begins, court officials say, and she's on the 300-name list of witnesses who could testify. While the judge will warn prospective jurors to avoid watching TV coverage of the trial, they may see Hudson on "American Idol" on Thursday.

Legal experts widely agree on the No. 1 challenge at trials involving megastars: It's identifying 12 jurors able and willing to assess guilt solely on what they hear in court.

Hudson will need to refrain from overt displays of emotion as potentially starstruck jurors' eyes dart back at her, said Gerald Uelmen, a defense attorney at O.J. Simpson's murder trial.

"The risk is that jurors may be watching her rather than testifying witnesses, and they could be influenced by how she reacts," he said. "She would be well advised not to engage in any facial expressions or outbursts. That could be grounds for a mistrial."

Prosecutors say William Balfour, the 30-year-old estranged husband of Hudson's sister, shot the family in a jealous rage because Julia Hudson was dating another man. Jennifer Hudson, also 30, and Balfour grew up in the same South Side neighborhood.

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. The body of her nephew, Julian King, was found days later in a vehicle several miles away.

Balfour's attorneys have said the evidence is circumstantial, though prosecutors say proof he committed the crime will include gun residue found on his car's steering wheel.

Adored by many Chicagoans, Hudson will pose a stark contrast to Balfour, a short man with a long criminal record. He was a one-time Gangster Disciples gang member and known by his street name, "Flex," according to court documents.

The dilemma posed by Balfour's trial became clear last week, when 150 potential jurors filled out their questionnaires in court. Nine of the 66 questions dealt with Hudson's career: Would-be jurors were asked if they'd ever seen her Academy Award-winning film "Dreamgirls" and if they belong to an organization for which Hudson is a spokesperson, presumably a reference to Weight Watchers.
It was obvious many potential jurors had heard of the killings, some gasping when the judge first read the name of the case.

And when Burns asked if anyone felt they couldn't hear the evidence "without sympathy, bias or prejudice" to step up, he looked on with apparent alarm as five, 15, then 20 people rose. He finally told everyone to sit down and disregard the question, for now.

The history of high-profile trials — from Simpson's to Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray — suggests it's hard to dim the celebrity glow. But Burns, known as a competent but quick-tempered judge, wants to ensure the buzz doesn't undercut Balfour's right to a fair trial. He's made it clear he won't tolerate disruptions. He's barred tweeting from inside court because he fears feverish typing would distract jurors. He's imposed gag orders on attorneys.

Cameras also won't be allowed in the courtroom, though that won't stop the media circus outside. Chicago isn't a paparazzi hot spot, but cameramen are likely to swoop in from New York or Los Angeles, said Ray Murray, an associate journalism professor at Oklahoma State University who studies paparazzi.
"Going in and out of the courtroom won't be fun for her," Murray said. "They look like cannons, some of these cameras, and if you're going through what she's about to go through, you can imagine that would rattle her."

The brush with celebrity may be irresistible for jurors, as there's a tendency to feel a protective bond with movie stars and singers almost as if they're family, said prominent defense lawyer Gerry Spence.
There could be "a sort of underlying sense, a subconscious sense, that they have attacked somebody in (the juror's) family," said Spence. "And they think, '(He) shot Jennifer's (mother, brother and nephew) and I'm going to get him.' "

The defense could ask Burns to bar Hudson from court — possibly on grounds she is a potential witness — which would be a rare but not unheard of request. But Uelmen says the judge would be reluctant to tell a daughter she can't attend the trial of the man accused of killing her mother.

Hudson's publicity firm did not respond to requests for comment.

Judges don't insist jurors be blank slates, they merely want to know if jurors can set aside their biases and preconceptions, said Laurie Levenson, a law professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles.

"You certainly don't want a juror who hasn't heard of Jennifer Hudson, for instance," Levenson said. "That would raise other serious questions, like, where's this person been living — under a rock?"
Attorneys won't necessarily share the judge's goal of weeding out bias.

"The fact is," Uelmen said, "neither side is looking for unbiased jurors — they're looking for jurors who lean their way."

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Normal Re: William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:26 pm








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Normal Re: William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

Post by lisette on Tue May 08, 2012 10:09 pm

In the trial of the accused killer of Jennifer Hudson's family, the defense rests after 30 minutes
Published May 08, 2012

CHICAGO – The man accused of killing three of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson's relatives did not take the stand, and his attorneys put on a mere 30-minute defense Tuesday, calling two detectives in a bid to suggest they botched the 2008 investigation.
The brief defense followed a two-week presentation by prosecutors, who called more than 80 witnesses, including Hudson herself, as they sought to prove William Balfour shot the star's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in a fit of jealous rage. Balfour, 30, is Hudson's former brother-in-law.
The actress and singer was in court Tuesday as she has been every day since testimony began last month. Wearing a beige blouse, pants and high heels, she looked more relaxed than usual — even smiling once as a prosecutor cross-examined one witness. Hudson was the first witness called in the trial, testifying about the last time she saw her family and her dislike of Balfour.
Prosecutors wrapped up their case earlier Tuesday after showing pictures of Hudson's nephew, Julian King, who was found in an SUV, shot in the head. Police found his body covered by a shower curtain and surrounded by shell casings, officers testified.
Both detectives called by the defense testified earlier for the prosecution. Defense attorney Cynthia Brown pressed one about a 2008 report in which he wrote that a witness saw the SUV in which the King's body was found about 6 p.m. on the day after the murders. The detective had testified the witness saw the vehicle about 6 a.m. The officer said he made a mistake in the original report.
The defense may use that admission, and other alleged errors, to bolster its claim that police rushed to pin the murders on Balfour because of intense media coverage spurred by Hudson's stardom.
Judge Charles Burns said closing arguments would begin Wednesday morning, after which jurors will begin deliberating.
Balfour has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder. If convicted on all counts, he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Before the defense called its first witness, Burns asked whether Balfour planned to testify, and attorney Amy Thompson told the judge he "determined he does not wish to testify."
Judges typically instruct juries not to hold it against defendants if they choose not to testify, and Burns will likely do that before jurors start their deliberations Wednesday.
Balfour and Julia Hudson were estranged but not yet divorced when the shootings occurred, and prosecution witnesses testified that he threatened to kill the Hudson family dozens of times if Julia Hudson refused to reconcile with him.
According to prosecutors, Balfour used a .45-caliber handgun to shoot Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, in the living room of the Hudson family home on Oct. 24, 2008; he then shot Hudson's 29-year-old brother twice in the head as he lay in bed and drove off in Jason Hudson's SUV with King.
Prosecutors say Balfour later shot the boy several times in the head as he lay behind a front seat. His body was found in the abandoned vehicle miles away after a frantic, three-day search.

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Normal William Balfour found guilty on all counts in murder of Jennifer Hudson's family

Post by Wrapitup on Fri May 11, 2012 5:17 pm

By TODAY.com staff and wire

The man accused of killing three members of Grammy and Oscar winning actress Jennifer Hudson's family was found guilty on all seven counts Friday afternoon.

Chicago Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair tweeted that Hudson, who has attended court regularly, was in court, wearing a black-and-white shawl, and accompanied by her sister and by her fiance, David Otunga. St. Clair reported that Hudson cried softly after the verdict and slumped against Otunga's shoulder, then stood on tiptoe to watch the jury walk out of the courtroom.

The verdict came just hours after the panel had told Judge Charles Burns of Cook County Court that they were split but would continue deliberating.

William Balfour, 31, was accused of shooting to death Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson, 57, her brother Jason Hudson, 29, and her nephew Julian King, 7. The only possible sentence for the Oct. 24, 2008 slayings is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Attorneys for Balfour said they would appeal the verdict.

Balfour's attorneys proposed an alternate theory: that someone else in the crime-ridden neighborhood on Chicago's South Side targeted the family because of alleged crack-cocaine dealing by Jennifer Hudson's brother, Jason Hudson. During the 30 minutes in which they called just two witnesses, however, they presented no evidence to support that theory.

Hudson was the first witness prosecutors called to testify, and during her more than 30 minutes on the stand she talked about her murdered family members and spoke endearingly about her nephew, Julian King, whom she called Tugga Bear. She said she knew Balfour since the eighth grade but always deeply disliked him.

Balfour had lived in the Hudsons' three-story Englewood home after marrying Julia Hudson in 2006. He moved out in early 2008 after falling out with his wife, but witnesses told jurors he often stalked the home.

The killings occurred the morning after Julia Hudson's birthday, and prosecutors said he became enraged when he stopped by the home and saw a gift of balloons in the house from her new boyfriend.

After his estranged wife left for her job as a bus driver on the morning of Oct. 24, 2008, prosecutors said Balfour went back inside the home with a .45-caliber handgun and shot Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, in the back; he allegedly then shot Jason Hudson, 29, twice in the head as he lay in bed.

Prosecutors said Balfour then drove off in Jason Hudson's SUV with Julian — Julia's son, whom she called Juice Box — and shot the boy several times in the head as he lay behind a front seat. His body was found in the abandoned vehicle miles away after a three-day search.

The defense tried to counter the portrayal of Balfour as an embittered husband by noting Julia Hudson continued to have sex with him until just days before the killings.

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Normal Re: William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

Post by Wrapitup on Fri May 11, 2012 5:51 pm








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Normal Re: William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

Post by Wrapitup on Sat May 12, 2012 11:58 am

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Normal Re: William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

Post by lisette on Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Life sentence in Jennifer Hudson family killing

CHICAGO – The man convicted of gunning down the mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew of Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.
Hudson, who attended every day of William Balfour's trial earlier this year, sat next to her sister at the hearing and at one point dabbed her eyes with a tissue.
The sentencing hearing came a little more than two months after a jury convicted Balfour in the Oct. 24, 2008, shooting deaths of Hudson's 57-year-old mother Darnell Donerson, her 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson and her 7-year-old nephew Julian King. The judge sentenced Balfour to three terms of life in prison plus 120 years on other charges.
"You have the heart of an arctic night," Cook County Circuit Judge Charles Burns told Balfour. "Your soul is as barren as dark space."
Prosecutors portrayed Balfour, who was married to Hudson's sister Julia Hudson, as a jealous estranged husband who often stalked Julia Hudson's house after he moved out in early 2008. But Balfour's attorneys suggested that someone else committed a crime in the family's three-story house in Englewood on Chicago's South Side.
Balfour faced a mandatory life sentence. Illinois does not have the death penalty.
The only person to give a victim impact statement in court was Gregory King, the father of Hudson's nephew. He told the judge he felt like his heart was ripped out when he found out his son, Julian King, was dead.
"I miss picking Julian up from the school bus," King said. "I miss going on field trips with him ... I miss him spending the night with me and my other children."
Balfour gave a brief statement, offering his condolences to the Hudson family while maintaining his innocence.
"My deepest prayers goes out to Julian King," Balfour said. "I loved him. I still love him. I'm innocent your honor."
Before the sentencing, Burns denied a request for a new trial from Balfour's defense.

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Normal Re: William Balfour on trial for the murder of Jennifer Hudson family members/Update: 05/11/12 - Found Guilty & has received a Life sentence!

Post by Guest on Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:29 am

Thank goodness he was put away for the rest of his life. Thanks lisette.
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