Jennifer Hudson’s family killer gets life
The man guilty of killing the mother, brother and nephew of actress Jennifer Hudson has been jailed for life.
William Balfour, Hudson’s former brother-in-law, has been handed three life sentences after being convicted earlier this year of first degree murder.
The 31-year-old was found guilty in May for shooting dead the actress and singer’s mother Darnell Donerson, 57, her brother Jason Hudson, 29, and her seven-year-old nephew Julian King.
Balfour, a former gang member, was the estranged husband of the Grammy and Oscar-winning star’s sister Julia at the time of the October 2008 triple murders.
Prosecutors said he shot the family members at Hudson’s childhood home in a jealous rage when he saw a gift of balloons had been left outside and assumed they were from another man for his estranged wife.
Police officers found Hudson’s mother’s body on the living room floor. She had been shot in the back.
Hudson’s brother had been shot in the head while in bed.
Her nephew was found shot dead in a car three days later.
The sentencing comes after Judge Charles Burns denied a request from Balfour for a new trial.
Hudson was in the Chicago courtroom and shook her head in disgust as Balfour proclaimed his innocence prior to being told by Judge Burns that he would be spending the rest of his life in prison.
“You have the heart of an arctic night,” Judge Burns told Balfour. “Your soul is as barren as dark space.”
Gregory King, the father of Julian King, was the only person to give a victim impact statement in court.
He told the judge he felt like his heart was ripped out when he discovered his son was dead.
“I miss picking Julian up from the school bus. I miss going on field trips with him… I miss him spending the night with me and my other children,” said Mr King.
Balfour had faced a mandatory life sentence. Illnois does not have the death penalty.
He also received 120 years for other charges of kidnapping, home invasion and possession of a stolen vehicle.
Hudson attended the 11-day trial earlier this year throughout.
She was accompanied by her long time partner, professional wrestler David Otunga, her sister Julia and other relatives.
Hudson also gave evidence on the first day of the trial. She tearfully told the jury she had not wanted her sister to marry Balfour because the family did not like the way he treated her.