Jennifer Hudson's former brother-in-law William Balfour has been found guilty of murdering the singer's mother, brother and seven-year-old nephew, reports CNN. The verdict was handed down on late Friday afternoon in Chicago after 18 hours of deliberations across two weeks; Hudson, who testified as the first witness of the trial, was present for the verdict and wept as her fiancè consoled her. Also present was Hudson's sister and Balfour's ex-wife, Julia Hudson.
Balfour, 31, was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder for killing Darnell Donerson, 57, Jason Hudson, 29 and Julian King, 7, on October 24th, 2008. He was also found guilty of home invasion, residential burglary and possession of a stolen vehicle. Prosecutors argued that Balfour had been in a state of rage over his then-estranged wife's new romantic relationship and had threatened the Hudson family previously. As evidence, they cited gun residue found on Balfour's clothing on the evening of the murders and cell phone records that placed him near each crime scene; they called over 80 witnesses to the stand during the trial, including the Oscar-winning Hudson, who stated that she had never liked Balfour and urged her sister not to marry him.
In her closing arguments, Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Bagby stated that Balfour was "fueled by his obsession, his jealousy, his determination to catch his wife Julia Hudson with another man. She didn't want him around; her family didn't want him around. But in his mind, she was his wife, and if he couldn't have her no one could." Bagby added that Balfour had repeatedly threatened, "If you leave me, I will kill you. I will kill your family first. You will be the last to die."
Balfour did not testify and pleaded not guilty. His defense attorneys claimed that there was no DNA evidence linking him to the crimes. He faces life in prison.