Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson wiped away silent tears as a jury read the verdict she had long awaited: Her brother-in-law was guilty of killing her mother, brother and young nephew.
William Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson’s sister Julia, was accused of killing his in-laws in October 2008 and then hiding his stepson’s body to try to cover his crimes.
It was three days before the boy’s desperate mother and aunt learned that he was also dead and not just held captive.
“This was a vicious, cold-blooded, inhumane execution of three people, including a seven-year-old boy who just happened to be home from school,” State Attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters on Friday. “We are very, very happy with the verdict.”
In a statement issued after the verdict was announced, Jennifer and Julia Hudson said the entire family was relieved and grateful.
“We have felt the love and support from people all over the world and we’re very grateful,” the sisters said. “We want to extend a prayer from the Hudson family to the Balfour family ... It is our prayer that the Lord will forgive Mr Balfour of these heinous acts and bring his heart into repentance someday.”
Prosecutors said Balfour acted out of an obsessive jealousy when he shot his way into Hudson’s childhood home and killed everyone inside after getting into yet another argument with his estranged wife.
Julia Hudson was at work at the time of the shooting and came home to find her mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, dead on the floor in her nightgown. She was so distressed that she ran outside to call police and did not realize immediately that her brother, Jason Hudson, 29, was dead in his bed or that her son was gone without a trace.
Julian King was eventually found hidden under a shower curtain on the floor of his uncle’s stolen sport utility vehicle, which had been parked across town.
Crime scene photographs shown at trial showed his lifeless little arm stretched out across the back seat.
The murders in Chicago’s South Side upended Hudson’s life less than two years after the one-time American Idol contestant collected a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in Dreamgirls.