Don't Miss This
UPDATED 07/24/12 – 5 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — William Balfour, the man convicted of murdering three members of singer-actress Jennifer Hudson’s family, has been sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports Criminal Court Judge Charles Burns sentenced Balfour on Tuesday afternoon. He received a separate life sentence for the each of the Oct. 24, 2008 murders of Jennifer Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57; her brother, Jason Hudson, 29; and her nephew, Julian King, 7.
Burns looked directly at Balfour and told him his crimes “send a chill through all of us” as the judge handed down the sentence on Tuesday.
“You have the heart of an arctic night and your soul is as barren as deep space,” Burns said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports
Before the sentence was handed down, Balfour offered sympathy to the Hudson family, but maintained he is innocent.
“My condolences go out to the family. My deepest prayer goes out to Julian King. It really does. I loved him. I’m innocent your honor,” Balfour said.
But the judge called Balfour’s claim of innocence and statement that he loved Julian King “an insult to all of us.”
Tears streamed down Jennifer Hudson’s face as the judge told Balfour “Julian was killed because he could have been a witness against you.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind you committed these crimes,” Burns added.
Julian King’s father, Gregory King, also read a victim impact statement before Balfour’s sentencing. He spoke of no longer being able to pick his son up from the bus stop or go on field trips with him.
“William Balfour forever took my chance to make new memories with my son. William Balfour forever took my son from me,” Gregory King said.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said her office was “extremely pleased” with the sentence handed down to Balfour.
Alvarez also noted that, while Jennifer Hudson’s fame brought a great deal of media attention to the case, the prosecutors’ job was the same as it would be in any criminal prosecution.
“Our job was and always will be about seeking justice no matter the circumstances or who our victims or defendants may be,” Alvarez said.
Defense attorneys had no comment on the sentence.
In addition to the life sentences — which do not carry the possibility of parole — Burns also sentenced Balfour to 120 additional years for the murders, 50 years for home invasion, 10 years for possessing a stolen motor vehicle, and 60 years for aggravated kidnapping. All of the sentences are to be served consecutively, rather than concurrently.
Earlier, Burns denied a new trial for Balfour, and Julian’s father read a victim impact statement. Jennifer Hudson was also in court.
Prosecutors said Balfour killed Donerson in the Hudson family’s Englewood living room, and then killed Jason Hudson as he lay in bed.
Balfour then allegedly kidnapped Julian — Julia’s son — and shot him in the head in the back seat of Jason Hudson’s SUV, which he stole then abandoned on the West Side. Julian’s body was found three days after the murders.