A day after singer and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson broke into tears on the stand while testifying about the vindictive rage that drove the defendant, William Balfour, to murder three members of her family, the trial proceeded Tuesday with a bit less star power.
Hudson, one of 300 potential witnesses for the prosecution, was the first to be called to testify in the trial after the prosecutors and defense attorney’s finished their opening statements.
Hudson, wearing a black dress with little makeup and her hair pulled into a tight bun, seemed composed at first while answering the prosecutor’s questions. Throughout the testimony, she became more emotional, offering that her family did not want Julia Hudson to marry the alleged suspect, 30-year-old William Balfour.
“None of us wanted her to marry him,” she said, fighting back tears. “We did not like how he treated her.”
Later, her older sister, 34-year-old Julia Hudson, was called to testify against her ex-husband. The 911 call made by Julia Hudson was played for the jury, during which they heard a hysterical Julia Hudson yelling at the 911 dispatcher after discovering her mother’s body, saying, “My momma, my momma!”
Julia described to the jury that Balfour had threatened to kill her family and herself several times during their marriage. “He said, ‘If you leave me, you will be the last to die. l’ll kill your family first,’” she said. She testified that this was one of several threats he made to her before the triple homicide.
She said that Balfour would even become jealous if her own son, Julian King, kissed her. A gift of balloons from a man he believed to be a new boyfriend, the prosecutors noted in their opening statements, was what drove the Balfour to commit the alleged murders.
The couple’s divorce was finalized last year.
Sitting in the fourth row of in the courtroom with husband David Otunga, Jennifer Hudson bowed her head and dabbed away at tears. Now that she has testified, Phil Turner, a Chicago attorney, notes that she can sit through the remainder of the trial, according to theNorthwestern.com. Witnesses are typically not allowed to watch the trial until after they testify.
Balfour is accused of murdering Jennifer Hudson’s mother, 57-year-old Darnell Donnerson, her 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson and nephew, 7-year-old Julian King, on the morning of Oct. 24, 2008.
He has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder. If convicted of at least two counts of murder, Balfour faces a mandatory life sentence.