Hudson Murder Attorney: Case at ‘Crucial' Point

Balfour officially indicted in court Tuesday

Prosecutors filed a murder indictment Tuesday against the man charged with killing the mother, brother and nephew of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson.

No new details or charges were outlined in the indictment against William Balfour, who faces first-degree murder and home invasion charges. The 27-year-old appeared briefly in court wearing a yellow prison jumpsuit and handcuffs but did not speak.

Defense attorney Joshua Kutnick asked the Cook County judge if Balfour can be moved to Cook County Jail from an Illinois Department of Corrections facility to make communicating with his client easier. The judge put off ruling on that decision until a Jan. 20 court hearing.

"The Illinois Department of Correction's system for visiting clients is much more difficult than Cook County, and for that reason, it has become more difficult for me to visit William," Kutnick said.

Balfour is the estranged husband of Hudson's sister Julia. He has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, her brother, Jason Hudson, and 7-year-old Julian King.

Balfour has been in custody at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Ill., since shortly after the bodies of Donerson and Jason Hudson were discovered Oct. 24 at the family's South Side home. King's body was found three days later in a sport utility vehicle on the city's West Side. All three had been shot. [Read More...]

Balfour was arrested the day of the killings and held in Chicago police custody for 48 hours -- the longest a person can be held without charges -- before his transfer to state custody on what authorities said was a parole violation. He was charged earlier this month with three counts of first-degree murder.  [Read More...]

Tuesday's indictment was expected, Kutnick said. He said hard evidence linking Balfour to the crimes does not exist and he was conducting his own investigation which was at a "crucial" point. He declined to give further details.

"The police believe it is William Balfour, but the problem is what they have done. They find their suspect and build evidence around the suspect. That's not the way it should work. They should gather evidence and it should lead to a suspect," Kutnick said. "This was the convenient person to go to. It is bolstered by the fact that it took them so long to get him arrested and charged."

Kutnick said the state's case is built on a "fragile framework that we think is going to fail."

Balfour's mother Michele Davis Balfour, who attended Tuesday's hearing with several family members, declined to comment.

Balfour has not had contact with the Hudson family, Kutnick said.

Members of the Hudson family did not attend the hearing. A publicist for Jennifer Hudson declined to comment. Both Julia and Jennifer Hudson have kept a low profile since the killings.

Jennifer Hudson, who was a finalist in the 2004 season of "American Idol," won her Oscar in 2007 for her supporting role in the movie "Dreamgirls."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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