CHICAGO (CBS) — The man accused of killing three members of singer Jennifer Hudson’s family is scheduled for trial in less two more months, but already there is some heavy legal wrangling over who will testify.
William Balfour, 30, is accused in the shooting deaths of Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew in 2008. He is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57; her brother, Jason Hudson, 29; and her nephew, Julian King, 7.
Balfour is the estranged husband of Hudson’s sister, Julia, who had started seeing another man not long before the murders and had told Balfour she didn’t want to speak to him. Balfour was allegedly making death threats against the family.
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports Cook County prosecutors want Julia Hudson to testify against Balfour, but that might not happen. Jennifer Hudson is also on the witness list, but it is not clear yet if she will be called to testify.
Even though they were estranged, Julia Hudson and William Balfour were still married when he allegedly killed her family, and there are marital statutes which protect communications between a husband and wife that are made in private. That could mean Julia Hudson will not be allowed to testify against her husband.
According to the prosecution, Julia Hudson saw Balfour outside her family home on the morning of Oct. 24, 2008, and let him inside.
They argued and both left, but the prosecution alleges that Balfour returned later that day and killed Julia Hudson’s family.
Julian King’s body was found days later inside an SUV. All three victims had been shot to death.
A motion filed by the prosecution, seeking to allow Julia Hudson to testify against her estranged husband, claims Balfour threatened to kill his wife and her family at least 25 times after they separated.
One of those times allegedly was on May 6, 2008, when Balfour allegedly said, “If you leave me, I’ll kill you. You’ll be the last to die.”
On July 31, 2008, Balfour allegedly threatened her again, saying “if you leave me, I’m going to kill you. You will be the last. I’ll kill your family first.”
Two weeks before the murders, on Oct. 9, 2008, Balfour again allegedly threatened Julia Hudson, saying “you know I came to your job to kill you that day” and “I’m going to kill your family first, then kill you.”
Prosecutors say because Balfour allegedly killed Julia’s son, Julian, marital privilege does not apply to the communications between her and Balfour.
Whether the judge in the case agrees with that remains to be seen.
Judge Charles Burns is scheduled to rule on the motion and a second motion dealing with “proof of other crimes” next Friday. Jury selection for Balfour’s trial has been scheduled for April 9. Opening statements are expected to begin April 23.