A Chicago jury deliberated for three days to convict Oscar-award winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson's former brother-in-law for the chilling murders that gripped a nation more than three years ago.
Hudson quietly wept as the verdicts were read, her fiancé wrapping his arm around her.
On the other side of the courtroom, however, William Balfour, 31, stared straight ahead as he heard he was convicted of killing his in-laws and his stepson, whom his attorneys said he viewed as his own child, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. He did not testify in his own defense. He now faces mandatory life in prison.
“My client is a very stoic young man,” assistant public defender Amy Thompson said following the verdicts. “He doesn’t emote much. ... This is a very, very hard blow for him.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Balfour’s mother arrived late to the courthouse and missed the verdict. Overheard at trial planning to feed her son Chinese takeout once he was cleared of the charges, Michele Davis-Balfour refused to comment Friday.
An act of vengeanceTime.com says in what prosecutors' described as an act of vengeance, Balfour became jealous over estranged spouse Julia Hudson’s new relationship.
William Balfour is convicted of killing three members of singer Jennifer Hudson's family
He was said to have flown into a jealous rage after seeing a gift of balloons, which he believed were from his wife's new boyfriend, the Telegraph writes.
Prosecutors said that's when Balfour decided to make good on a promise to Hudson's sister, Julia.
"If you leave me, you're going to be the last to die. I'm going to kill your family first," Balfour repeated in the weeks leading to the murders, Julia Hudson testified.
Prosecutors said he shot his way into the house, on Oct. 24, 2008,and shot Hudson's mother three times as she tried to run away, then shot her brother in the head as he lay in bed sleeping. Balfour then abducted Julian King, the nephew Jennifer Hudson called “Tugga Bear,” and later shot him in a car which he abandoned. The boy was found dead in the vehicle after a three-day search.
Balfour had sought to cover his tracks, changing his clothes three times, and enlisting -- one of his three mistresses -- to create an alibi. A timeline of his whereabouts, didn't gel with his cell phone records, security camera video and witness testimony.
Balfour is innocent
But Defense attorneys are sticking to their story. They maintained it was all Hudson's brother's fault. That the victims were killed in a drug hit spurred by Jason Hudson’s crack cocaine business, and that police scrambled to make an arrest given the victims’ relationship to the star.
Jennifer Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson, (L) Jennifer Hudson (R)
“It has always been our position and it still is,” Thompson said, “that William Balfour is innocent of these murders.”
She hopes the Appellate Court takes a critical eye to the case.
In turn, Hudson and her sister, Julia hope the same for the Balfour family -- that they take a critical eye to the case, in a different way:
A prayer “from the Hudson family to the Balfour family.”
“We have all suffered a terrible loss in this tragedy,” they said,in a statement on Hudson's website Friday night, quoting Scripture:
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that perish: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them (2 Corinthian 4:3-4).
“It is our prayer that the Lord will forgive Mr. Balfour of these heinous acts and bring his heart into repentance someday.”