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Updates From the Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial

By Samantha Abernethy in News on May 3, 2012 6:40PM

William Balfour

William Balfour
The murder trial of William Balfour — the brother-in-law of actress-singer Jennifer Hudson accused of killing her sister, mother and nephew — continues this week. Balfour was the estranged husband of Hudson's sister Julia Hudson at the time of the murders. He had been at the home arguing with Julia earlier in the day.

Jennifer Hudson took the stand last week and has been in the courtroom for much of the proceedings, although she and her sister left when photos of the crime scene and more graphic testimony took place. Some say the court has been too accommodating for the celebrity, but the judge's liaison said she has received treatment no different from other victims. Yesterday the judge banned reporters' cell phones from the courtroom, saying they were a distraction. They'd only been allowed to use them for email, but the judge said they'd gone off several times.

Recent testimony has focused on three key areas: DNA and forensics at the crime scene, verbal threats made by Balfour and the killing of 7-year-old Julian King. Here is a roundup of what is going on in the court.

  • A forensics expert testified for the defense that he was unable to find any of Balfour's DNA on the gun used to kill Darnell Donnerson and Jason Hudson. He also said there was no DNA match found in the white Suburban belonging to Jason Hudson where Julian King's body was found three days after the other two murders. Prosecutors say that could have been wiped away by weather conditions.

  • An evidence analyst testified that gunshot residue was found on the steering wheel of Balfour's car and inside the white Suburban. The residue matches the gun which had belonged to Jason Hudson. Balfour had previously been accused of stealing it.

  • One witness described the scene where Julian's body was found. He said "Julian’s body was draped in a shower curtain with its hooks still attached. A spent shell casing was found on the rear seat." There was also a small hole in the floor, which they believe was caused by a bullet.

  • One witness testified that Balfour had asked her for an alibi. “He told me that if anybody asks you, I’ve been out west all day,” said Brittany Acoff Howard.

  • Balfour's mistress testified that he had confessed to the murders and also asked her to serve as his alibi. She said she allowed him to hide out in her apartment until police found him using cell phone signals.

  • Maria Wilkes testified that she stumbled on Julia Hudson and William Balfour in a heated argument. “He was just talking about how his wife was cheating . . . and he didn’t want to leave her,” Wilkes said on the seventh day of Balfour’s triple murder trial. “I heard him tell her that if she were to call police, he would kill her and her family.”

  • A neighbor testified to drug activity, saying he helped Jason Hudson cook crack in their home and that Hudson was dealing crack from the home. The witness for the defense argued that perhaps the killing was a result of Hudson's drug activity.

  • The audio of Julia Hudson's 911 call has been released. The ABC7 report is below with audio from her call.