Chicago The brother-in-law of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson killed three of her relatives — with a gun stolen from one of the victims — because he was angry his estranged wife, the star’s sister, was dating another man, prosecutors alleged Wednesday.
William Balfour appeared in court for the first time in connection with the deaths and was denied bond. His attorney said authorities have no forensic evidence linking Balfour to the killings, but prosecutors said witness statements and the suspect’s own lies and threats helped lead them to him.
Balfour was charged with murder Tuesday after being held for weeks on a parole violation. The slightly built man, wearing a yellow jump suit, stood quietly Wednesday as prosecutor LuAnn Snow described how he allegedly killed his 7-year-old stepson, Julian King, Hudson’s mother, Darnell Hudson Donerson, and Hudson’s brother, Jason Hudson.
Snow said Balfour had been at the Hudsons’ South Side home early Oct. 24 and confronted his estranged wife, Julia Hudson, about a birthday present he believed she had received from a boyfriend.
Balfour, Snow said, also had shown up to Julia Hudson’s workplace earlier in the month to confront her about dating another man.
“He told her at the time that her family would suffer if she saw other men,” Snow said after Wednesday’s hearing.
Balfour threatened Julia Hudson again that morning at the home, Snow said, adding that Hudson did not take the threat seriously because he “had not followed through on any of those threats” before.
The two left the home together that morning, with Hudson driving away as she saw Balfour walking toward his own car, according to documents prosecutors filed with the court.
But Balfour’s car broke down and two acquaintances gave him a ride to a gas station — during which time Balfour told them he had a handgun, but had left it in his car, Snow alleged.
In fact, the prosecutor said, the gun belonged to Jason Hudson and Balfour allegedly stole it during the summer. “Several people observed defendant with the gun in the late summer of 2008,” Snow said.
Balfour was taken back to his disabled car after the trip to the gas station, “although he was offered a ride to other locations,” Snow told the court.
In the stark language of a legal document she was reading from, Snow described what allegedly happened next:
“Defendant then entered the home at 7019 S. Yale at gunpoint,” she read. “He shot Darnell Donerson several times while she was in the living room area. He then went into Jason Hudson’s bedroom and shot him two times in the head.”
Jason Hudson, she said, was still in bed when he was shot.
Balfour allegedly then took 7-year-old Julian and put him in Jason Hudson’s white SUV. “Defendant shot Julian King in the head while the 7-year-old was laying behind the front seat of the Suburban,” Snow read. His body was found three days later in the SUV.
Balfour’s attorney, Joshua Kutnick, criticized the first-degree murder and home invasion charges against his client, saying no fingerprint, blood or other forensic evidence links the 27-year-old to the slayings.