Jennifer Hudson says always disliked man accused of killing her family

Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:10pm EDT
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By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Grammy and Oscar winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson testified on Monday that she had known the man charged with killing three members of her family since they were in middle school together but never liked him.

Hudson was the first witness called at the start of the murder trial of William Balfour, who is charged with shooting dead her mother Darnell Donerson, 57, her brother Jason Hudson, 29, and her nephew Julian King, 7.

Balfour, married to Hudson's sister Julia Hudson, did not treat Julia or her son, Julian, well, Hudson testified. "I would tell her (Julia) over and over again not to marry William," she said.

Hudson testified about the harrowing day of October 24, 2008, when she learned that her mother and brother were dead and her nephew was missing. She flew home to Chicago and identified her mother and brother's bodies at the morgue. On October 27, she was back at the morgue to identify her nephew's body.

Before Hudson moved out in the summer of 2006, the family had lived together in the same house in Chicago where the bodies of her mother and brother were found. Julian King's body was found in a white SUV that Jennifer Hudson had bought for her brother Jason.

Prosecutors say Balfour stole the vehicle, killed Julian in the back seat, and then abandoned it. The murder weapon, a handgun which had been stolen from Jason Hudson, was found in a vacant lot near the SUV, according to prosecutors.

In opening arguments at the trial, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Veryl Gambino described Balfour as a jealous and vindictive man who repeatedly threatened to kill Julia Hudson and her family.

"These weren't just words. They weren't just threats. They were deadly warnings of what was to come," Gambino said.   Continued...

William Balfour is pictured in this recent handout photo from the Cook County Sheriff Department, received by Reuters April 23, 2012. Jennifer Hudson was the first witness called at the start of the murder trial of Balfour, who is charged with killing Hudson's mother, brother and nephew. Even when Balfour attended the same school as Hudson, the singer said, she disliked him. REUTERS/Cook County Sheriff Department/Handout