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HUDSON MURDERS SPARKED BY BIRTHDAY GIFT? December 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryann Hayman @ 11:07 am
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A birthday gift given to Jennifer Hudson’s sister Julia by an alleged boyfriend may have triggered her estranged husband to go on the shooting spree that killed her mother, brother and son, prosecutors allege. 

 

      Julia, according to People magazine, celebrated her 31st birthday on Oct. 23 with a cake and small party at home. The next morning, police say, her estranged husband William Balfour – booted last February from the house on Chicago’s South Side where they lived with Julia’s mother and 7-year-old son – showed up and spotted a gift he believed came from another man.

 

       Prosecutors allege it was jealousy over that gift that led Balfour, 27, to return to the house after Julia had left for work and shoot her mother Darnell Donerson, 57, Jennifer’s brother Jason, 29, then take Julia’s son, 7-year-old Julian King, and later kill him as well.       

       People reports:       

        In detailing their case against Balfour, prosecutors described a growing tension between Balfour and Julia Hudson.        

        In early October, Balfour confronted Julia at her workplace. He accused her of dating another man and threatened her family if she continued, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney LuAnn Snow said during the bail hearing.        

        Julia dismissed him because Balfour hadn’t acted on earlier threats to her family, Snow told Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond Myles.        

        On the morning of the murders, Balfour went to the Hudson home in Chicago’s struggling Englewood neighborhood, where Jennifer grew up singing in the church choir, and where her success and Oscar win are a source of community pride.        

        That’s where Balfour saw the birthday gift that he attributed to Julia’s alleged boyfriend and warned her again, Snow said.  Both left around 8:10 a.m., when Julia went to work as the three victims slept.        

        Balfour told detectives he went home on the train using a public transit card. But the card wasn’t used that day, Snow said, and Balfour didn’t turn up on security video taken at the train station. Instead, cell phone records place him near the Hudson house until about 9 a.m., by which time authorities say both Donerson and Jason Hudson had been killed. Donerson was shot in the living room. Jason was shot while still in bed.       

        Balfour moved his own car from the home before driving away in Jason’s white Chevrolet Suburban with Julian inside, Snow said.  The timing of Julian King’s death is still in question – his body was found three days later in the back seat of Jason’s missing SUV, parked on a west side street several miles away – but police believe Julian was shot in the vehicle the same day as the first two murders.        

        Forensics tests later matched a .45 caliber handgun found in an alley near the parked Suburban with shell casings found at the house. And prosecutors said the gun belonging to Jason Hudson had been stolen by Balfour last summer and seen by Balfour’s girlfriend, to whom they say he admitted his role in Donerson’s and Jason Hudson’s deaths.        

        Balfour has been in custody since the day of the murders. He subsequently was transferred to a state prison for a suspected parole violation – he served seven years on a 1999 conviction for attempted murder and carjacking – and was returned to police custody after his arrest in the Hudson slayings.        

        “At this time,” said police Deputy Superintendent Peterson, “it doesn’t appear that anyone else was involved.”        

      “He’s not confessed to these crimes,” said police Superintendent Weis. He added, “You never know how a jury is going to decide cases, so whenever you go to trial, it is somewhat a roll of the dice. But I am confident that the evidence has been collected, the testimony that’s been secured is strong, and I think we can make a very viable case in court.”

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J-HUD CANCELS SCHEDULED VIDEO SHOOT

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 10:16 am
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Jennifer Hudson has scrapped plans to film her first music video since the October murders of her mother, brother and nephew, according to Usmagazine.com.      

       Hudson was due to shoot the clip for “If It Isn’t Love” in Los Angeles this week, according to a rep for J Records. 

      “The video was set up before the tragedy and she felt like she should finish what she started, but she’s realized that she’s not ready to go back to work. It’s too early,” a source tells Us.”      

       Also, a personal rep for Hudson called the original video plans “speculation.

       “The video shoot was never confirmed, so there was nothing to cancel,” the rep tells Usmagazine.com. “[J Records’ statement] was erroneous.”

 

       Darnell Donerson, 57; brother, Jason, 29, and 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, were fatally shot in Chicago Oct. 24. William Balfour — the estranged husband of Jennifer’s sister, Julia — was charged with the murders Dec. 2.

 

J-HUD RELEASES STATEMENT ON GRAMMY NODS December 8, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 11:16 am
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Amid the pain of losing her mother, brother and nephew in a triple homicide, Jennifer Hudson reacted to news of her four Grammy nominations for her self-titled debut album in a statement released Thursday.

 

      “It’s been a childhood dream of mine to release an album,” she said, “so to receive four Grammy nominations is truly a blessing. I’m extremely honored and humbled by the nominations.”

 

       Hudson, 27, was nominated for best R&B album for her self-titled disc, best female R&B vocal performance, best R&B song for “Spotlight” and best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals for her duet with Fantasia, “I’m His Only Woman.”       

       The nominations were announced on the same day her estranged brother-in-law, William Balfour, was ordered held without bail in the Chicago shooting deaths of her mother Darnell Donerson, 57, brother Jason Hudson, 29, and nephew, Julian King, 7. 

 

MOTIVE FLOATED IN J-HUD FAMILY KILLINGS December 4, 2008

Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 9:55 am
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Bail was denied Wednesday for William Balfour, whom prosecutors believe murdered the family members of singer Jennifer Hudson out of anger over his estranged wife (Hudson’s older sister Julia) dating another man.

 

       At a hearing Wednesday, a Cook County prosecutor said Balfour came to the family’s home the morning of the Oct. 24 killings and confronted Julia Hudson, saying he would “harm” her family if she continued seeing the other man.

 

       The prosecutor says Balfour and Julia Hudson left together but Balfour returned to the home, and the bodies of Hudson’s mother and brother were discovered there later that day. The body of Julia Hudson’s 7-year-old son was found in an SUV three days later.

 

       According to the Chicago Sun-Times, prosecutors also refuted a number of statements that Balfour made to police, among them:

 

• Balfour told detectives that he was home at the time of the shootings, but cell phone records showed he was in the vicinity of the Hudson family home.

• Balfour told police that after he had earlier been to the Hudson home to talk with his estranged wife, he had taken a CTA “L” train to his West Side home. But CTA card records show that Balfour had last used the card two days before. Also, Balfour had claimed to have used a particular “L” station, but surveillance cameras showed he had not been there.

• Balfour denied having a gun, but multiple witnesses said they saw him with one or heard him say he had one. The gun used in the slayings had belonged to Jason Hudson and Balfour had taken it without permission from Hudson’s bedroom over the summer, prosecutors said.

 

       Prosecutors also stated the previously undisclosed fact that gunshot residue was found on the steering wheel of Balfour’s car, which, authorities said, he had driven that morning to the Hudson home and later moved after the murders.      

       Balfour’s attorney, Joshua Kutnick, claims the 27-year-old is innocent and has called the prosecution’s case against his client “weak.”

 

       Kutnick told Judge Raymond Myles Wednesday that there were no witnesses to the slayings and no connection between Balfour and the weapon that was believed to have been used in the shootings.       

       “Thus far it is my impression and William’s impression that he has been painted as guilty in this case,” Kutnick said. “And that is untrue and unfortunate. We implore the public to keep an open mind.”

 

WILLIAM BALFOUR’S LAWYER SAYS HE’S INNOCENT December 3, 2008

Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 6:27 pm
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William Balfour was officially charged with the murders of Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew during a hearing Tuesday, but his lawyer claims he is innocent and the state’s case against him is flimsy.

 

      “The delay between the crimes and his actual arrest show weaknesses in the case,” attorney Joshua Kutnick tells People.com. “This case is not a strong case against William. He is a convenient suspect.”

 

      Balfour, who is separated from Hudson’s sister Julia, was arrested Monday for the October murders of Hudson’s mother Darnell Donerson, 57; brother Jason Hudson, 29; and nephew Julian King, 7.

 

       He was transferred Monday from an Illinois state prison – where he has been held on suspicion of a parole violation – back into Chicago police custody.      

       The 27-year-old was charged Monday with three counts of first degree murder and one count of home invasion. He is scheduled for a bond hearing at noon Central time today.      

       During a press conference Tuesday, the State’s Attorney and police said they have physical evidence tying Balfour to the scene and are “confident” about their case, which some unnamed sources have claimed is “mainly circumstantial.”       

       They also emphasized they did not cut a deal with Balfour’s girlfriend to elicit her testimony.

 

BALFOUR CHARGED IN HUDSON FAMILY KILLINGS December 2, 2008

Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 11:18 am
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William Balfour, the lone “person of interest” in the killings of Jennifer Hudson’s family members, was arrested on Monday as a suspect in the case, according to reports.

 

       As of press time, police were preparing to transport the 27-year-old from Stateville Correctional Center, where he was being held for parole violations, to the Wentworth Area detective headquarters in Chicago.      

       According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Balfour was arrested at 2:45 p.m. Monday for the Oct. 24 murders of the Oscar-winning actress’ mother Darnell Donerson; her brother, Jason Hudson; and her sister Julia Hudson’s son, Julian, who was abducted from the home.      

       A source told the newspaper that the case against Balfour is largely circumstantial.

 

WILLIAM BALFOUR STAYS IN JAIL November 11, 2008

Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 10:59 am
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William Balfour, the 27-year-old convicted felon questioned in the killings of Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew, remains behind bars following a parole review that found probable cause to detain him.

 

       The 35-minute hearing ended Monday with a decision that Balfour, Hudson’s estranged brother-in-law, violated his parole and should be held until a Dec. 3 hearing before the full Illinois Prisoner Review Board, reports the Associated Press.

 

       Balfour has been questioned, but not charged, in the killings. Authorities have called him a “person of interest.”

 

       During the hearing, Balfour denied any involvement in the crime, including the allegations that he had been seen with a gun.      

       “He seemed to be disturbed. He contested those allegations” about the gun, Board Chairman Jorge Montes said after the hearing. “He was protesting the introduction of that evidence and he denied it.”

 

       Jeanetta Cardine, an executive with the prisoner review board, was told during Monday’s hearing that Balfour’s girlfriend informed investigators she saw him with a gun matching the description of the .45-caliber weapon used in the three killings.      

       While Cardine found probable cause to believe Balfour violated other conditions of his parole, including failing to get anger management and substance abuse counseling, Montes said the gun allegation alone was enough to keep the man in custody.      

       “That’s a very serious allegation,” Montes said. “If somebody’s alleging they saw him with a gun that was used in the murder of three individuals, we would definitely hold” him.

 

       The bodies of 57-year-old Darnell Donerson and 29-year-old Jason Hudson were discovered Oct. 24 at the family’s home. Three days later, 7-year-old Julian King’s body was found in a sport utility vehicle on the city’s West Side. Officers found the gun in a vacant lot in the neighborhood where Julian’s body was found.