On Friday, a jury convicted the ex-brother-in-law of Jennifer Hudson, for murdering her brother, mother, and 7-year old nephew. There were no eyewitnesses of what happened on Oct. 24, 2008, nothing on the scene of the slaying connecting the accused to the murders. No fingerprints, no DNA evidence, absolutely nothing concrete that proved beyond reasonable doubt that William Balfour had committed the murders. However, Balfour, a former gang member and ex-husband of Jennifer’s sister Julia Hudson was proven by witnesses to have threatened to kill the entire family when Julia spurned him.
Balfour had pleaded not-guilty, and his defense had argued that the murders were the work of a gang who were rivals of Jennifer Hudson’s deceased brother who used to deal in crack cocaine. However, the defense could not submit anything to substantiate their claim, while the other side put up witnesses who saw Balfour threaten Hudson’s family members.
Amy Thompson, the public defender said she would be appealing the verdict.
Balfour remained impassionate while the jury announced their decision. On the other side, Jennifer Hudson broke into tears and smiled back at her sister Julia, who was in the courtroom.
Balfour is known to have lived at the family home of the Hudsons in Englewood after marrying Julia in 2006. He separated from Julia in 2008 and left the house. However, witnesses said that Balfour often moved around the house and stalked it.
The deaths occurred on the day following Julia Hudson’s birthday, and the prosecution said that Balfour stopped by the home and was infuriated by a gift of balloons made to Julia by her new boyfriend. According to prosecutors who carefully reconstructed the sequence of events without any evidence, Balfour went back inside the home and shot Hudson’s mother in the back and then shot Jason Hudson twice in the head. Then Balfour drove off in Jason Hudson’s SUV with Julian, Julia’s son, and shot the boy several times in the head. After a three-day search, Julian’s body was found in the abandoned vehicle.
Mens rea. There is no physical evidence, but circumstantial evidence shows that Balfour threatened to kill the family, was seen around the home close to the days of the murder, and was the only person who had motive to commit the crimes. The rival gang story did not stick, because they could have reason to kill Jason, but not to kill his mother, or to drag Julia’s 7-year old son to another place and kill him.