Balfour arrested in Hudson homicides

The estranged brother-in-law of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson was charged Tuesday with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of home invasion in the October triple slayings of the singer/actress’ mother, brother and nephew. Balfour is married t

The estranged brother-in-law of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson was charged Tuesday with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of home invasion in the October triple slayings of the singer/actress’ mother, brother and nephew. Balfour is married to Jennifer’s sister, Julia.

William Balfour was originally taken into custody by Chicago police a few hours after the bodies of the Hudson sisters’ mother and brother were found in their Englewood home on Oct. 24 but was only called a “person of interest.”

He was transferred to the custody of the Ill. Dept. of Corrections on analleged parole violation after being in police custody just shy of 48 hours, at which time Chicago police would have had to either charge the 27-year-old man or release him.

At the time of the murders, Balfour was on parole for attempted murder and vehicular hijacking convictions.

Balfour had been detained for about five weeks at Stateville Correctional Center pending the outcome of a second administrative hearing scheduled for Dec. 3 about the parole violation when Chicago police executed an arrest warrant for Balfour at 2:45 p.m. on Dec. 1.

Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis, at a news conference Tuesday afternoon to announce the charges against Balfour, said that members of the Hudson family were “key members” in the investigation and “cooperated” every step of the way with detectives working the case.

The family helped put together a pattern of events that occurred around the timeframe the murders took place, Weis said, and declined to comment further about the family’s role in the investigation.

Members of the Hudson family did not attend the news conference, but Deputy Supt. Steve Peterson said the family was aware of the arrest and charges and were “relieved and happy.”

Comments sought about Balfour’s arrest by the Defender from the Hudson family were not obtained by press time

Julia Hudson found their mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, fatally shot in the family’s home in the 7000 block of South Yale Avenue. She also discovered that her 7-year-old son, Julian King, and Jason’s white SUV were missing from the home. Three days later, the second-grader was found shot to death inside the vehicle in the 1300 block of South Kolin Avenue, about three miles away from Balfour’s girlfriend’s home.

Sources said there have been a series of domestic disturbances between Balfour and Julia, who lived apart. Neighbors said they remember seeing Balfour’s greencolored vehicle on the block the morning of the shootings.

The white SUV was captured on surveillance footage outside of Robeson High School, near the family’s home, later that afternoon. Police said the grainy video shows someone exiting the vehicle, but it could not be determined if it was Balfour. They also declined to release the images from the footage.

Peterson said the motive appears to be domestic related and confirmed that all three were shot with a .45 caliber pistol that was recovered in a vacant lot the same week and in the same area where Julian King’s body was found.

He also said it appears that the boy was killed on the same day and in the SUV.

Balfour was allegedly seen with a gun that matches the handgun used to kill the family, and during a traffic stop earlier this year, drugs were found in his vehicle, said Jorge Montes, chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, enough speculation to detain him until another hearing.

Sources said that Balfour’s girlfriend told police that he admitted to her that he was involved in the slayings and that she saw him with a gun that matched the one used to kill the victims.

His mother, Michele Balfour, said there is no direct evidence linking her son to the murders and said his “bitter” girlfriend gave false statements to the police so she could hopefully get help with her own pending drug case.

Peterson said Balfour’s girlfriend gave statements to the police but would not divulge her specific involvement with the investigation. Weis said there is “no deal cut with her,” addressing Michele Balfour’s claims.

Balfour “vehemently denies” his guilt, according to his attorney, Joshua Kutnick.

“It seems as thought the evidence that the detectives have brought to light is largely unreliable,” Kutnick added.

Peterson said there is physical evidence that has been collected but stopped short of stating whether any of it links Balfour to the murders. Forensic and ballistic testing is also still pending, but he said he’d rather not get into any specifics on what tests are outstanding.

He also said it appears that no one else is involved but that developments may arise later.

While Balfour has not confessed to any involvement in the homicides, he has made statements to police about the investigation, Peterson said.

He is scheduled to appear in bond court Wednesday.

Kathy Chaney can be reached at kchaney@chicagodefender.com.

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