Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson took the stand on Monday in the murder trial of the man accused of killing her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in 2008. The first witness called by the prosecution, she reportedly broke down in tears while talking about defendant William Balfour, the estranged husband of her sister Julia.
Hudson offered jurors some insight into Balfour's relationship with her sister and the Hudson family. They were not warm to the marriage, and she repeatedly told her sister not to marry him, as she didn't like how he treated her or her son.
Though she was out of town during the slayings, Jennifer Hudson's murder trial testimony will serve an important purpose. It adds to the story of a jealous, vindictive man who repeatedly threatened to kill his wife and her family.
No longer living together, Balfour is said to have gone into a rage after finding out that Julia's new boyfriend had sent her balloons for her birthday, reports the Associated Press. On the day of the murders, Julia left the house, noticing Balfour was lingering outside the home. Later that day, she would learn that her mother and brother were dead, and her son had been driven off in a car and shot.
Earlier in 2008, Balfour had moved out of the family's home. Since then, he had reportedly threatened to kill the Hudson family on more than two dozen occasions, notes the AP. He is said to have also threatened Julia the day before the murders.
William Balfour is on trial for first-degree murder, which is an intentional killing. Jennifer Hudson's murder trial testimony helps prosecutors prove that Balfour not only had a motive to kill her family, but had a long-standing intent and plan to do so.
- Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial: Opening statements in the trial of William Balfour set to begin (CBS)
- Jurors Selected in Jennifer Hudson's Family Murder Trial (Chicago Criminal Law Blog)
- First Degree Murder (FindLaw)