A prosecutor alleged Wednesday that Jennifer Hudson's estranged brother-in-law shot and killed three family members because he was angry the singer's sister was dating another man, then asked a girlfriend to be his alibi.
William Balfour was a jealous husband who took steps to cover his tracks but made mistakes investigators say prove he wasn't where he says he was at the time of the killings, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney LuAnn Snow said during a 30-minute court hearing.
Balfour's mother left the court without a word, leaving the talking to Balfour's attorney, Joshua Kutnick, who criticized the charges against his client. Kutnick said there are no fingerprints, blood or any other forensic evidence linking the 27-year-old to the slayings, and said his client is a "victim of circumstance."
"There is no direct evidence of Mr. Balfour committing these crimes," he said, adding that the woman who claims Balfour confessed to her and asked her to provide him with an alibi is "highly suspect."
Judge Raymond Myles ordered Balfour be held without bond, and ordered him back to court Dec. 30, an order that was not a surprise, given the evidence presented and Balfour's criminal history, prior convictions and use of four aliases and six birth dates.
Throughout the hearing, the slightly-built Balfour, wearing a yellow jump suit, stood quietly as Snow told the judge about how he had ended the lives of Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, brother Jason Hudson, and 7-year-old nephew Julian King.
Balfour, Snow said, had been at the South Side home the morning of Oct. 24, when he saw a birthday present he believed had been given to Julia Hudson from a boyfriend he had threatened her about earlier that month at her work place.
As he did previously, he threatened the safety of her family, Snow said, a threat Julia Hudson did not take seriously because he "had not followed through on any of those threats" before.
The two left at the same time, with Hudson driving away as she saw Balfour walking toward his own car.
But Balfour's car broke down and two acquaintances gave him a ride to a gas station -- during which time Balfour told him that he had a handgun, but had left it in his car, Snow said.
In fact, the prosecutor said, the gun belonged to Jason Hudson and Balfour allegedly stole it during the summer.
In the stark language of a legal document that she was reading from, Snow described what happened next.
He entered the home at gunpoint. "He shot Darnell Donerson several times while she was in the living room area," she read. "He then went into Jason Hudson's bedroom and shot him two times in the head. Jason Hudson was still in bed when he was shot."
Then he took 7-year-old Julian King, loaded him into Jason Hudson's white SUV. Then, she read, "Defendant shot Julian King in the head while the 7-year-old was laying behind the front seat of the suburban." His body was found three days later in the SUV.
Snow said there is evidence linking Balfour to the crimes, including gunshot residue on the steering wheel of his car that had broken down.
Further, she said, Balfour has made statements to authorities that detectives have proven are not true. For example, while Balfour claimed he used a transit card to ride a train from the Hudson residence to his home, "The card was last used two days before the murders," she said.
Balfour also does not appear on surveillance video of the train station he said he rode to.
And, she said, while Balfour said he was at his West Side home at 10 a.m. the morning of the killings, cell phone records show that he did not return there until just before 1 that afternoon.
Jennifer Hudson was a finalist in the 2004 season of "American Idol" and won her Oscar in 2007 for her film debut, a supporting role in "Dreamgirls." She has mostly stayed out of the spotlight and close to her family since the killings.
Her publicist said Wednesday that the actress would not offer any comment.