Lifestyle & Belief

Jennifer Hudson's brother-in-law convicted for murdering her family members


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.


Robyn Beck

Jennifer Hudson's former brother-in-law William Balfour has been found guilty in the 2008 murders of the Oscar-winning actress's mother, brother, and nephew, the Chicago Sun-Times reported

Balfour, who was married to Hudson's sister Julia, was also convicted of home invasion, aggravated kidnapping, residential burglary, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle for the crimes. He faces life in prison, according to the Sun-Times. The jury made their decision after 18 hours of deliberations over three days.

The 31-year-old was accused of killing the three in a jealous rage, believing that Julia Hudson was dating another man, ABC News reported

"The circumstantial facts of this case are drowning this guy in guilt," Prosecutor Jim McKay told jurors, CNN reported

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Cook County prosecutor Jennifer Bagby said in her closing argument that Balfour had threatened to kill Hudson's family. 

"If you leave me, I'll kill you. I'll kill your family first. You'll be the last to die," he had said to Julia, according to Bagby, CNN reported. 

Prosecutors argued that Balfour shot and killed Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson, 57, in her living room, and then shot Hudson's brother Jason Hudson, 29, as he lay in bed. He also kidnapped Hudson's 7-year-old nephew Julian King, who he shot in the head as he lay behind the front seat of an SUV, ABC News reported. 

The trial began on April 23 in Chicago, ABC reported. Prosecutors called more than 80 witnesses over two weeks, and the defense called only two witnesses to the stand. Balfour did not testify.

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Jennifer Hudson, who won an Oscar for her role in "Dreamgirls," was the first witness to testify against Balfour, and sat through most of the trial that attracted national press. 

“I would tell her over and over again not to marry William,” Hudson had testified about her sister Julia, according to the New York Times

Balfour's attorneys argued that the murders were a drug hit related to Jason Hudson’s crack business, and accused police and prosecutors of rushing to make a case against Julia's ex-husband, the Sun-Times reported.