UPDATE: Balflour’s Lawyer Quits 2/24/09
The lawyer who represented the man accused of slaying Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson’s three relatives withdrew today as his attorney.
Joshua Kutnick said he believes William Balfour is innocent but cannot financially support such a high-profile case alone.
“It’s the kind of case that involves intense hours,” Kutnick said after speaking with Balfour’s mother. “I was gathering all resources, but I couldn’t finance it.” Balfour, 27, is expected to be appointed a lawyer from the public defender’s later this afternoon, Kutnick said.
Balfour is charged with killing the mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew of Hudson’s in Englewood last October.
Balfour is the estranged husband of Hudson’s sister Julia.
Click here for the full AP story.
POLICE CONFIDENT HUDSON FAMILY MURDERS SOLVED
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Police charged the estranged brother-in-law of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson with the murders of her mother, brother and nephew, expressing confidence on Tuesday the evidence was sufficient to convict.
“You can never always know how a jury will decide a case but I’m confident the evidence is there and I’m confident we’ll be successful,” Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said.
Police said they had the murder weapon and physical evidence as well as testimony that would convict William Balfour, 27, the estranged husband of Jennifer Hudson’s elder sister, Julia.
The motive for the October 24 murders involved a dispute between the two, police said.
Click here for the full report.
WILLIAM BALFOUR ARRESTED IN CONNECTION TO HUDSON MURDERS
From Chicago Tribune:
Chicago police said today they have arrested William Balfour for the murders of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson‘s family members.
Balfour, 27, has been in custody in Stateville Correctional Center on a violation of parole and was transferred to Chicago police custody after police served a warrant for his arrest Monday. He was then transported to the Wentworth Area, where he will be held pending charges approved by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
BEYONCE SNUBS JENNIFER HUDSON
A few weeks ago MediaTakeOut.com reported to you that since singer actress Jennifer Hudson lost her family, Beyonce – who co-stared in the movie Dreamgirls with Jennifer – hasn’t reached out.
Well on Friday, Beyonce confirmed our report!!
Click here for the full report.
BARACK OBAMA WANTS JENNIFER HUDSON TO SING AT INAUGURATION
Barack Obama’s inauguration in January will have a special meaning to millions of Americans. But it may be especially meaingful for actress and singer Jennifer Hudson.
MediaTakeOut.com has learned that president elect Barack Obama’s staff have reached out to Jennifer Hudson’s people, and offered her the chance to perform at the inauguration – assuming she’s up to it.
Click here for the full story.
A parole review official on Monday refused to release the convicted felon questioned in the killings of Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew, after a witness reported seeing him with a gun similar to the one used in the slayings.
A 35-minute hearing ended with a decision that there is probable cause to believe that William Balfour violated parole and should be held until a Dec. 3 hearing before the full Illinois Prisoner Review Board.
OPRAH CONSOLES JENNIFER, RIFT BETWEEN HUDSON SISTERS
While Jennifer’s going though the most difficult time in her life, MediaTakeOut.com has learned that Oprah Winfrey is doing her best to help. According to reports, Oprah has opened up her East Lake Shore Drive Chicago condo to Jennifer and her fiancé David Otunga. And for the last week, Jennifer and David have been staying at Oprah’s home – which is not only large, but private and secure from the media.
But things are not improving for Jennifer on another front.
CELEBRITIES, FAMILY, FRIENDS CELEBRATE THE LIVES OF SLAIN HUDSONS
As the remaining members of the Hudson family, Jennifer & Julia, mourn the deaths of their beloved family members, support is readily available. Beyonce, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Fantasia, Missy Elliot, Patti LaBelle, and Queen Latifah all were in attendance. Oprah Winfrey also came out and showed her support by housing Jennifer in her East Lake Shore condo.
Click here for the full report from Bossip.
PRIVATE FUNERAL FOR SLAIN HUDSON RELATIVES, MONDAY
The Associated Press reports that there will be a private funeral held for the slain members of the Hudson family. A memorial service was held on Sunday, celebrating the lives of Darnell Donerson, Jason Hudson and Julian King. Jennifer Hudson and her sister Julia were not in attendance.
Click here for the full report from the AP.
HUDSON’S BROTHER MAY HAVE OWNED GUN THAT KILLED HIM
From Sunday’s New York Post:
“Jennifer Hudson’s brother might have once possessed the stolen handgun that cops suspect was used to kill him and two other members of the actress’ family, the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday.”
MEMORIAL SERVICE SUNDAY
CHICAGO – Friends and family will fill Jennifer Hudson’s childhood church Sunday to mourn the Oscar-winning actress’ mother, brother, and nephew.
Jennifer Hudson and her sister Julia Hudson aren’t expected to attend the memorial service. The services will begin at 3 p.m. and open to the public at 4 p.m.
Funeral services for Darnell Hudson, Jason Hudson, and Julian Hudson are to be held Monday. The three were found fatally shot late last month.
No one has been charged in the killings. Police confirmed Friday they found the gun used in the three killings in a vacant lot on the city’s West Side.
Authorities have called Julia Hudson’s estranged husband, 27-year-old William Balfour, a “person of interest.” Balfour is in custody on a parole violation.
SHOOTING SUSPECT DEFENDED BY MOTHER
William Balfour, person of interest in the Hudson family murder case, is claiming his innocence and saying he had a “good relationship” with the family. Balfour’s mother spoke to CNN about her son and the tragedy and says her son is “not involved”. She claims that Jason Hudson was selling drugs out of the Hudson home and Balfour was with “one of his girlfriends” at the time of the murders.
Click here to see Balfour’s mother defend her son on CNN with Nancy Grace.
SUSPECT REFUSES POLYGRAPH TEST
There is speculation that a family dispute between Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson and Julia [Hudson’s] estranged husband, may have led to the murders. It is possible that William Balfour was targeting the famous and wealthy Hudson, Jennifer. Balfour refuses to take a polygraph test. Developing…
See a PHOTO GALLERY of Jennifer Hudson and her family here.
WAS JENNIFER THE REAL TARGET?
According to the National Enquirer:
“Julia [Hudson’s] mother kicked [William] out of the family home last May because of his drug dealing, and he was furious. He vowed to Julia that her family would regret it and said he’d kill Jennifer … He knew Jennifer was the most important person in their lives and that her death would devastate them…
He also said he was going to kidnap [7 year old] Julian and she’d never see him again. And he said, ‘Then when your famous sister gets back into town, I’ll do her too!’ said the source.”
CHICAGOIST REPORTS FOUND GUN MAY BE MURDER WEAPON
The Chicagoist reports that a gun that was found in an alley near the crime scene may be the weapon used in the Hudson family triple homicide.
Click here for the full Chicagoist report.
HUDSON’S NEPHEW SHOT MULTIPLE TIMES
The Chicago Tribune reports that there is evidence that someone may have helped the killer of the Hudson family. Julian King’s body was found in a missing SUV, shot several times. There is now surveillance video indicating there may have been an accomplice.
Here is what the Trib reports:
“The body of Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, was discovered Monday morning in the back of Jason Hudson’s Chevy Suburban, parked on a West Side street.
Security video at the South Side high school showed someone parking the Chrysler on Friday, but investigators have not been able to determine the person’s identity from the images, the sources said. A time stamp on the video showed the car was left there at 12:30 p.m. Friday, but it was unclear whether the stamp was accurate, sources said.
Meanwhile, cell phone records placed Balfour on the West Side at that hour, sources said. If the time stamp is accurate, it would suggest another person may have driven the Chrysler from the Hudson home to Robeson, sources said. In any event, Balfour did not use his own car to travel from the Hudson’s Englewood house to his girlfriend’s home near 19th Street and Spaulding Avenue on the West Side, police said.”
Julian King, nephew of Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, was killed by multiple gunshot wounds, confirms the Cook County medical examiner. The office did not provide information about when the child died or where his wounds were.
HUDSON SUSPECT ARRESTED BEFORE, RELEASED
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The convicted felon suspected in the slayings of Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew was arrested after police allegedly found crack cocaine in his car in June, but authorities declined to return him to prison on a parole violation, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
A judge dismissed the charge for lack of probable cause in July, but under the strict rules of the state’s parole program, William Balfour could have gone back to prison just for the arrest.
No one has been charged in the shooting deaths of Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, her brother, Jason Hudson, and 7-year-old nephew Julian King, but Balfour has been named as a suspect. Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said Tuesday he is confident the case will be solved.
Balfour — Julian’s stepfather and the estranged husband of Hudson’s sister — served seven years for attempted murder and vehicular hijacking. Court records show that in 1998 Balfour stole a Chevrolet Suburban and, with the vehicle’s owner clinging to the top, intentionally rammed it into a light pole, fence and iron gate.
According to a Chicago police report, officers pulled Balfour over June 19 after hearing gunshots and seeing his car moving at a high rate of speed. Inside the vehicle, police said, they found a rock of cocaine with a street value of about $100 on the driver’s seat.
Balfour’s parole history report indicates a parole supervisor declined to issue a warrant to revoke Balfour’s parole after his arrest for possession of cocaine.
“Per supervisor … no warrant,” the report reads. “Agent to monitor offender, impose sanctions.”
Corrections Department spokesman Derek Schnapp said officials determined “the evidence that was presented during that time wouldn’t have necessarily warranted a violation.”
Court records do not indicate the reason a judge found no probable cause for the drug arrest.
A felony arrest usually is enough for Corrections to revoke parole, said Thomas Peters, a Chicago criminal defense attorney who represents parolees.
“Even though the criminal case is dismissed does not mean that you necessarily get a pass on a parole violation because the standard of proof is much less,” Peters said.
Peters added, however, that officials also would have considered Balfour’s fairly clean record as a parolee and that he apparently still had a job. In addition, he said, jail and prison overcrowding often play a role in determining whether parole is revoked.
Donerson, 57, and Jason Hudson, 29, were found in their home Friday afternoon. The body of Julian, who lived with the other victims, was found in the back of an SUV on Chicago’s West Side on Monday. Authorities declared his death a homicide Tuesday but would not say how long he had been dead.
In a message posted on her MySpace.com page Monday, Julian’s mother thanked people for their prayers and said her son’s “lil soul is at ease.”
“I take comfort in knowing that Julian is with my mother and my brother and most of all the Lord and now he’s my angel he’s protecting,” Julia Hudson wrote.
Jennifer Hudson, who won a best-supporting-actress Oscar last year for “Dreamgirls,” has thanked fans for their support on her MySpace page but has been in seclusion in Chicago.
Around the time the first bodies were found, Balfour’s parole agent had reached him by phone after Balfour missed a meeting with him that day. Balfour told the agent he was “baby-sitting on the West Side of Chicago,” according to internal parole records.
The agent said he thought he heard a child in the background during the call. Balfour was taken into custody later Friday.
The Illinois Department of Corrections issued a warrant for Balfour on Saturday for violating terms of his parole by possessing a weapon and failing to attend anger management counseling and a substance abuse program, according to his parole history report.
Criminal charges can send parolees back to prison and keep them there even if the counts are ultimately dropped. A board that reviews such cases after parolees are sent back to prison relies on a preponderance of the evidence, a lower standard than in court. The board considers the violence of the original crime, the parole agent’s recommendation, the arrest report, the parolee’s adjustment and his attitude during a follow-up interview in prison, among other things.
In Balfour’s case, a violation could have sent him back behind bars for a period as long as the remainder of his parole — until May 2009 — minus a day off for each day of good behavior. That would have meant a release date in mid-December at the earliest.
Parole records also show that a woman at Balfour’s home refused to open the door during an agent’s visit on Aug. 27. The woman told the agent during the 8:30 a.m. visit that Balfour was at work but Balfour’s boss told the agent he wasn’t due until noon.
“Agent heard other people inside the host site and suspected maybe suspicious activities going on,” the report said. “Agent will be following up for a possible warrant on parolee.”
Parolees must agree to allow agents to visit their homes and consent to searches. There’s no warrant mentioned in following days on the report, which does note, however, that Balfour passed a drug test.
Schnapp, the corrections spokesman, said the evidence again wasn’t sufficient to warrant revoking parole.
JULIA HUDSON MAKES STATEMENT ON MYSPACE
Here’s Julia Hudson’s Statement on MySpace:
Let’s see I’m 29 years old, I have one child and I’m always bored. I love to have fun – even start a little s*** here and there. I have two younger siblings – my sister is Jennifer Hudson, yes the Jennifer Hudson, and my brother is Jason.
I guess it’s time to update this. When I started my Myspace, all of the above was true. Now because I chose to do what was natural to me and love someone , it cost me my beautiful family. My wonderful beautiful loving supporting mother Darnell, my true blue baby brother Jason , I love u big baby … And last but never not least – my only son Julian, my innocent baby. One that was sheltered from all the evil in the world because we loved him so much …
But thank you all for your loving support. I know some of y’all have your opinions and you are entitled to that. [Some of you are asking] why is she logging on to Myspace at a time like this – let me tell you why. I was hoping that was a way to maybe help me get my son, my baby, the one I carried under my heart for 8 1/2 months, the son it took me 21 hours of labor to bring here, the son I grew to know and love for just a few months over 7 years – that’s why …
And now for those of you who actually cared, thank you for all your words of encouragement. Thank you for your prayers, thank you for posting his picture on your pages as your default picture. Thank you…
But his lil soul is at ease. I take comfort in knowing that Julian is with my mother and my brother and most of all the Lord . Now he’s my angel, he’s protecting me…
MORE INFORMATION RELEASED ABOUT WILLIAM BALFOUR, SUSPECT
More information has come to light regarding the husband of Julia Hudson, William Balfour
Balfour’s father is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence for murder. His brother served time for drug dealing. Balfour himself has served time for attempted murder and carjacking. According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Balfour was a member of the Gangster Disciple Street Gang. Also according to court docs, Balfour told the judge back in 1999 he had a good relationship with his mother until “she gets an attitude.”
Before this development, the family offered a $100,000 reward Sunday for the safe return of her missing nephew, as investigators looked for forensic evidence near the home where her mother and brother were found shot to death.
According to the authorities, a white SUV with the license plate listed in the Amber Alert which was issued on Friday begging for the safe return of Julian King was found in Chicago. The body of a black male child was found inside, and there is official confirmation that it is Julian King.
In a statement Sunday evening from publicist Lisa Kasteler, Jennifer Hudson appealed to the public for its help, offering the reward and asking that any information be given to Chicago police.
“Jennifer and her family appreciate the enormous amount of love, support and prayers they have received while she and her family try to cope with this tragedy and continue the search for Julian,” the statement said.
JENNIFER HUDSON’S MOTHER & BROTHER FATALLY SHOT
CHICAGO – Academy award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson’s mother and brother were fatally shot on the South Side of Chicago on Friday. Authorities confirm that the fatal shooting was the result of a domestic violence incident gone terribly wrong. Now, Hudson’s 7-year old nephew, Julian King is missing and the FBI is officially involved in the case.
A member of the community church, Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist confirms that Darnell Donerson, 57-year-old mother of Jennifer Hudson was one of the victims. The other was Jason Hudson, Jennifer’s brother.
Autopsy results confirm that the two were killed by gunshot wounds that were a result of a domestic violence incident gone wrong. Julia Hudson, Jennifer’s sister and mother of missing 7-year old Julian King, was the one who called Jennifer hysterical to explain what had just occurred.
An Amber Alert has been issued for the safe return of Julian King, who also responds to the nicknames Juice Box and Dr. King. William Balfour, Julia Hudson’s estranged husband is in custody and being questioned for the disappearance of the little boy.
The FBI has also joined the Hudson family in search of the young boy. Julia Hudson issued a plea, begging “I don’t care who you are, just let the baby go.” The boy’s father, Greg King, was beside as she said, “I just want my son. He don’t deserve this.”
Hudson became famous after appearing on “American Idol” in 2004. She went on to win an Oscar for her performance in the film “Dreamgirls.”
Click here for a breaking video of the little boy’s discovery.
Click here for the full Associated Press story on Balfour refusing to take the polygraph test