December 14, 2008 05:30 PM by Paulene Hinds
A gift left for Julia Hudson, Jennifer Hudson’s sister, is believed to be the motive that led William Balfour to murder Jennifer’s mother, brother and nephew this past October. Jennifer Hudson was a finalist in the 2004 season of American Idol and won an Oscar in 2007 for best supporting actress in “Dreamgirls.”
The morning after Julia Hudson celebrated her birthday with her family, her estranged husband Balfour showed up at the house and spotted the gift which he believed to be from another man, making him jealous. Balfour then allegedlyreturned after Julia had left for work and shot her mother Darnell Donerson, her brother Jason and then took her 7 year old son, Julian King, later killing the child as well prosectors allege.
Balfour was charged on December 2 with three counts of first-degree murder after being held on a parole violation. Police Superintendent Jody Weis said the Hudson family members assisted “every step of the way under very stressful and painful circumstances.”
Balfour’s attorney Joshua Kutnick feels that his client has been targeted for the murders due to the stormy relationship between Balfour and Julia Hudson and after a judge ordered Balfour held without bail he said, “We are extremely confident that once all of the evidence has come to light and has been tested by our vigorous analysis of the case, that William will be found not guilty.”
The evidence began to stack up against Balfour however when gunpowder residue was found in his green Chrysler. Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney LuAnn Snow says that the finding of the gunpowder “is indicative that he fired a handgun… So yes, indeed, there is physical evidence.”
Kutnick argued that none of that means his client killed anyone. He told the judge, Balfour has not confessed and no one has come forward saying they saw him commit the crimes.
As for the gunshot residue, Kutnick said after Wednesday’s hearing that Balfour’s car had been left unattended the day of the killings and it wasn’t known if anyone else had used it. He also said witnesses linking Balfour to Jason Hudson’s stolen gun are unreliable.
Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney LuAnn Snow added more incriminating evidence though during the bail hearing and said that Balfour had confronted Julia at her place of work, accusing her of dating another man and then threatend her family if she continued. She also told Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond Myles that at the time, Julia dismissed the threats as Balfour had threatened her family in the past without acting on it.
Balfour threatened Julia Hudson again that morning at the home, Snow said. The two left the home together that morning, with Hudson driving away as she saw Balfour walking toward his own car, according to documents prosecutors filed with the court.
But Balfour’s car broke down and two acquaintances gave him a ride to a gas station, during which time Balfour told them he had a handgun, but had left it in his car, Snow alleged.
In fact, the prosecutor said, the gun belonged to Jason Hudson and Balfour allegedly stole it during the summer. “Several people observed defendant with the gun in the late summer of 2008,” Snow said.
Balfour was taken back to his disabled car after the trip to the gas station, “although he was offered a ride to other locations,” Snow told the court.
The description of the alleged crime was then read by Snow and she detailed how Balfour went into the home and shot Darnell Donerson in the living room and then entered Jason Hudson’s bedroom and shot him in the head while he slept. Balfour then allegedly took young Julian King and put him in Jason Hudson’s white SUV and shot him while the 7 year old was laying behind the front seat of the vehicle.
Bail was denied for Balfour and his next court date is set for December 30.
Jennifer Hudson had remained in seclusion and close to her family since the killings and just recently returned to work to film a musicvideo for her new self titled album.
Her publicist said Wednesday that the actress would not offer any comment.
The next season of American Idolbegins on January 13, 2009, on FOX.
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Photo Credit: Lester Cohen/Wire Image