One day after his 31st birthday, William Balfour was convicted of killing three of Jennifer Hudson's family members. Rob Elgas reports.
William Balfour, the man accused of murdering three members of singer-actress Jennifer Hudson's family in the fall of 2008, was found guilty Friday on all counts.
The jury made its decision after about 18 hours of deliberation. Balfour faced three counts of first-degree murder, as well as charges of aggravated kidnapping, residential burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle and home invasion.
Balfour, who turned 31 years old on Thursday, now faces a life sentence in prison. His next court date is June 8.
Balfour showed almost no emotion as the verdict was read. A few of his relatives looked upset, one repeatedly shaking her head and muttering that the verdict was unfair.
Jennifer Hudson shook her head and held back tears as her fiancé, David Otunga, held her close.
Balfour's attorney, Amy Thompson, called her client a "stoic young man" who is devastated by the verdict. An appeal is planned, she said.
"It has always been our position and it still is that William Balfour is innocent of these murders,'' she said.
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez expressed gratitude to the jury, calling the murders a
"vicious, cold-blooded, inhumane execution" of three people.
"The evidence in this case was overwhelming. It was overwhelming, and everything that was presented for us made it clear... it was a tsunami of evidence, circumstantial evidence which is tremendous evidence, and that's why the law allows it," said Alvarez. "We are very, very happy with the verdict in this case."
Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, were found shot to death on Oct. 24, 2008 in the family's home on Chicago's south side. Hudson's nephew, 7-year-old Julian King, was found murdered in an SUV days later.
Balfour pleaded not guilty to the murders in January 2009.
A little more than two weeks ago, Hudson was the first witness called in Balfour's trial. Julia Hudson, the Oscar winner's sister and Balfour's ex-wife, took the stand after her sibling.
Jennifer Hudson broke down crying during her testimony as she talked about her family and the last time she saw them.
"None of us wanted her to marry him," she said. "I told her over and over not to marry him."
Prosecutors then called 81 more witnesses, some who spoke of threats Balfour made to Julia Hudson and some who said they saw Balfour with a gun. A girlfriend testified that he confessed to the murders.
Prosecutors' final witness provided a direct link between suspect William Balfour and the murder scene. A detective testified that when Balfour was arrested, he had the keys to Jason Hudson's stolen GMC Suburban, where Julian King was found.
The defense disputed the evidence in their closing arguments, saying the keys aren't what prosecutors claim.
"The one constant in this case is that every piece of DNA evidence excludes William Balfour," said attorney Amy Thompson.
Balfour didn't take the stand in his own defense.
A recap of trial coverage: