Testimony ends in trial of man accused of killing Jennifer Hudson’s relatives

Sketch by Tom Gianni

Sketch by Tom Gianni

CHICAGO (CNN) — The prosecution and defense in the trial of a man accused of killing the mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew of actress-singer Jennifer Hudson rested on Tuesday.

The entertainer’s former brother-in-law, William Balfour, is charged with the murders. He pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer has argued that there is no forensic evidence linking him to the killings.

Balfour’s defense called just two witnesses — Chicago police detectives who testified about apparent discrepancies in reports.

Closing arguments in the case are scheduled for Wednesday. Deliberations will begin soon after.

Hudson, who has sat through the roughly two-week trial, was called as the prosecution’s first witness. She broke down in tears several times on the stand as she recalled her family.

Prosecutors have portrayed Balfour as a jealous man who murdered three people in a rage at the thought that his wife had a boyfriend.

“None of us wanted her to marry him,” Hudson said of her sister’s decision to marry Balfour. “We did not like how he treated her.

“Where he was, I tried not to be,” she said.

Balfour is accused of fatally shooting Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and the singer’s brother Jason Hudson, 29, inside their Chicago home in October 2008. The body of Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, was found three days later in an abandoned vehicle.

Balfour, Julian’s stepfather, also has been charged with one count of home invasion.

The deaths took place a year after Hudson, who rose to fame as a contestant on “American Idol,” won an Oscar for her role in the movie “Dreamgirls.”

In a recent interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Hudson reflected on the life of her mother.

“My mother was a very wise and strong person. I feel like she raised us well, and she prepared me well, and so that’s what I live by,” she said.

Her career has continued to blossom and remains varied since her relatives’ deaths.

Recent milestones include penning a memoir detailing her struggles with her weight; being cast as Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie, in an upcoming movie; releasing a new album; and singing a well-received tribute to Whitney Houston at the most recent Grammy Awards show in February.


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