Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial Begins

April 23, 2012 By:
Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial Begins
UPDATE: Jennifer Hudson has arrived to the Cook County courthouse for the first day of trial. A courtroom spokesperson confirmed the Oscar-winning actress was in the building but said she would not be in the courtroom for opening statements. Her fiance, David Otunga, sat in the gallery and stared at defendant William Balfour as he entered the courtroom.

Opening statements are set to begin in a Chicago courtroom this Monday morning in the trial of William Balfour, who is charged with 3 counts of first-degree murder in the tragic 2008 slayings of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.

Did balloons spark a jealous rage that led to murder?

The Chicago Sun Times reports that prosecutors are expected to tell jurors that Balfour, who was estranged from Hudson’s sister Julia at the time, became enraged after he drove past the home where the Oscar winner grew up and spied balloons he believed were from his wife’s new boyfriend a day after her birthday.

He allegedly entered the home and used a .45 handgun to kill Hudson’s 57-year-old mother, Darnell Donerson, in the living room and her 29-year-old brother, Jason Hudson, with two shots in the head while he lay in bed.

Following the slayings, it is alleged that Balfour left the home in Jason’s SUV with Julia Hudson’s son, Julian King, and allegedly shot him in the head.

Tragically, Julian's body was found still in the SUV after an intense three day search for the missing boy.

There are no known witnesses to the murders, though Julia Hudson says she caught a glimpse of him in her rear mirror as she left for work. The gun - allegedly stolen from Jason Hudson months earlier by Balfour - was later recovered near the SUV.

The defense claims all evidence is circumstantial.

Lead prosecutor James McKay alleges that Balfour threatened to kill the Hudson family at least two dozen times since moving out of the house in 2008.

Balfour is described as a high-school dropout and former Gangster Disciple member who went by the name, “Flex,” and was on parole at the time of the murders after serving almost seven years for attempted murder and vehicular hijacking.

His divorce to Julia Hudson was finalized last year.

Jennifer Hudson’s name appears on a list of potential witnesses, but it’s not clear if she will testify, though she’s expected to attend the trial’s testimony in the same courtroom where R&B singer R. Kelly was once acquitted on child pornography charges.