13 May 2012

Man convicted in Jennifer Hudson family murder trial

6:06 am on 13 May 2012

A US jury has convicted the former brother-in-law of singer and actress Jennifer Hudson of murdering three members of her family.

William Balfour, 31, was found guilty on three counts of first-degree murder by the jury in Chicago.

Prosecutors said Balfour shot Ms Hudson's mother, brother and seven-year-old nephew in 2008 after his estranged wife refused to reconcile with him.

Jennifer Hudson was overcome with tears as the verdict was read.

The Oscar-winning actress and singer was the first witness called in the trial and had attended every day of testimony.

At the time of the killings, Balfour was estranged from Ms Hudson's sister, Julia Hudson.

Prosecutors said that when Julia Hudson left home for her job as a bus driver on 24 October 2008, Balfour went into the home and shot Ms Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson in the back, then shot Jason Hudson, 29, twice in the head as he lay in bed.

They said Balfour drove off in Jason Hudson's car with Julia's son, Julian King, and shot the boy several times in the head as he lay behind a front seat.

The boy's body was found in the abandoned vehicle after a three-day search.

There were no surviving witnesses or fingerprints to link Balfour to the crimes.

Jurors took three days to reach a verdict as they sifted through the circumstantial evidence implicating Balfour.

His defence lawyers had claimed the killings could have been related to alleged drug dealing by Ms Hudson's brother, and he denied all the charges.

Balfour showed no emotion as the verdict was delivered. He faces a mandatory life prison sentence, however lawyer Amy Thompson said she would appeal against the verdict.