Lifestyle & Belief

Jennifer Hudson jurors: Fame played no part in murder conviction


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.



Jurors in the Jennifer Hudson family murder trial insisted her stardom played no factor in their decision to convict her former brother-in-law of killing her mother, brother and nephew four years ago.

"This wasn't about her," juror Jacinta Gholston told reporters Friday night. "It was a case about William Balfour."

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Balfour, a former gang member, was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder in the 2008 home invasion and kidnapping in Chicago. He faces a mandatory life prison sentence. Illinois no longer has a death penalty, The Associated Press reported.

Hudson, wearing a long black-and-white printed sweater, dabbed at her eyes after the verdict was read. She left the courthouse without making a comment, according to Reuters.

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In a statement later, Hudson and her sister, Jennifer Hudson, thanked prosecutors and law enforcement and said they were praying "that the Lord will forgive Mr. Balfour of these heinous acts and bring his heart into repentance some day."

Jennifer Hudson was the first of 83 witnesses called by the prosecution. But jurors said her testimony, while emotional, provided no actual evidence and did not affect their decision.

"We did ignore it," Gholston, a 35-year-old chocolate company employee, said about the deliberations. "There was no discussion of Jennifer Hudson."

Public defender Amy Thompson said Friday she would appeal the verdict.