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Balfour Defense Highlights Lack Of Physical Evidence In Hudson Murders

Darnell Donerson, 57; Jason Hudson, 29; and Julian King, 7; were all shot and killed in 2008. Authorities say William Balfour, the estranged boyfriend of King's mother, Julia Hudson, killed them. (Credit: CBS)

Darnell Donerson, 57; Jason Hudson, 29; and Julian King, 7; were all shot and killed in 2008. Authorities say William Balfour, the estranged boyfriend of King’s mother, Julia Hudson, killed them. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – DNA evidence – or the lack of it – took center stage Wednesday at the trial of the man charged with killing three members of entertainer Jennifer Hudson’s family, as the defense shined a spotlight on the lack of physical evidence tying the alleged killer to the crime.

Much of the testimony focused on whether prosecutors could connect William Balfour’s DNA to the shooting deaths of Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson; her brother, Jason Hudson; and her nephew, Julian King.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports an Illinois State Police forensic expert testified DNA found on the murder weapon, the Hudson home, and in the SUV where the youngest victim’s body was found did not match Balfour.

“I didn’t find any DNA that matched William Balfour’s profile,” said Illinois State Police forensic scientist Pauline Gordon.

That testimony underlined the weakest link in the prosecution’s case against Balfour – the lack of physical evidence directly linking Balfour to the murders.

Defense attorneys highlighted that lack of physical evidence in their opening statements, saying it shows authorities cannot prove Balfour committed the murders.

For much of the day on Wednesday, Gordon recounted the results of DNA tests conducted in connection with the three murders.

For example, Gordon said Donerson’s DNA was discovered on a blood-soaked broom inside the family’s Englewood home.

But Balfour’s DNA was not found anywhere in the home, even though prosecutors have said he is the one who gunned down Donerson and Jason Hudson inside the house at 70th Street and Yale Avenue.

Balfour’s DNA also was not found inside Jason Hudson’s SUV, which Balfour allegedly stole after killing Donerson and Jason Hudson. He allegedly killed 7-year-old Julian King inside the van, then ditched the vehicle on the West Side.

The alleged murder weapon was recovered less than a block away from the SUV, but Balfour’s DNA was not on the .45-caliber Sig Sauer handgun either.

Gordon explained DNA would not be left behind on the gun if the killer was wearing gloves, or if it was wiped clean before police found it.

Balfour has been accused of killing the three members of Jennifer Hudson’s family, because he was enraged that his estranged wife, Julia Hudson, was dating another man.

Earlier, Illinois State Police forensic analyst Robert Berk testified gunshot residue was discovered inside Jason Hudson’s Chevy Suburban, where King’s body was found, as well as on a steering wheel cover in Balfour’s car.

But investigators could not tie any gunshot residue to Balfour himself. None of his clothes tested positive.

However, prosecutors have alleged Balfour changed clothes after the killings. And his skin was not tested for gunshot residue, because he was arrested eight hours after the murders. Berk said tests for gunshot residue on skin are rendered invalid six hours after a gun is fired.

Balfour has denied any role in the killings. Defense attorneys have suggested the murders might be tied to Jason Hudson’s alleged drug dealings.