Lifestyle & Belief

Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson gives evidence at family murder trial


Jennifer Hudson performs in memory of the late Whitney Houston at the Staples Center during the 54th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, February 12, 2012.



Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson has taken the stand in the murder trial of a man charged with killing her mother, brother and nephew.

"None of us wanted her to marry William," she said of her sister's marriage to defendant William Balfour, according to ABC News. "We did not like how he treated her."

Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29, were found shot dead on October 24, 2008. The body of Hudson's 7-year-old nephew Julian was found days later, according to the BBC.

Prosecutors say Balfour shot the victims in a jealous rage because his estranged wife, Julia Hudson, had a new boyfriend.

State's Attorney Veryl Gambino told the court of Balfour's alleged threat to his estranged wife in the weeks preceding the killings: "If you leave me, I'll kill you. I'll kill your family first and then I'll kill."  

Balfour has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder, which carry a life sentence.

More from GlobalPost: Whitney Houston remembered at Grammy Awards (VIDEO)

Hudson, 30, who has vowed to attend every day of the trial, was the first witness called in the trial in Chicago's Cook County Court and broke down crying on the stand before composing herself.

The "Dreamgirls" actress — who won an Academy Award for her role in the 2007 musical — said she knew something was wrong on the day of killings because her mom didn't text her that morning.

Julia Hudson found their mother's body in the family home in the tough Englewood neighborhood of Chicago where Jennifer grew up.

Hudson, a finalist on the 2004 series of American Idol, has previously has declined to talk publicly about the killings, the Associated Press wrote.

More from GlobalPost: Tough times for Australian billionaires