UPDATED: 4/25/2011 – 5:38 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — More graphic photos took center stage on Wednesday at the third day of trial for the man charged with killing three members of Jennifer Hudson’s family, as prosecutors showed jurors pictures of her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King.
Julian’s mother, Julia Hudson, and her sister Jennifer were once again absent from the courtroom when the pictures of the boy’s bloody body were shown in court. The two also left court on Tuesday before prosecutors began showing photos of the bodies of their mother, Darnell Donerson, and their brother, Jason Hudson.
William Balfour, 30, is accused of killing Julian King, Darnell Donerson and Jason Hudson on Oct. 24, 2008. He and Julia Hudson were married, but estranged, at the time of the killings, and prosecutors have said Balfour killed the victims in a jealous rage, thinking Julia had a new boyfriend.
As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, Balfour himself appeared to tear up when the photos of Julian’s body were shown in court. He put his head down and one of his attorneys handed him a tissue, which he used to dab his eyes as the photos were displayed on a large screen in the courtroom.
Jennifer and Julia Hudson have chosen not to be in the courtroom when graphic photos of their dead family members have been displayed in court. Otherwise, both have been in court for virtually the entire trial.
But both sisters left the courtroom Tuesday before graphic photos of the crime scene and the victims’ bodies were shown in court. Some of the photos showed their mother lying on the floor, blood staining her nightgown. Others showed their brother’s naked body and closeups of the gunshot wounds to his head.
On Wednesday photos of Julian’s body were displayed as Cook County Deputy Medical Examiner Mitra Kalelkar testified about performing the autopsy on Julian King on Oct. 28, 2008, a day after his body was found. The boy’s body was not located until three days after the murders. Authorities say Balfour had stolen Jason Hudson’s SUV after the killings and left Julian’s body inside, covered in a shower curtain.
Kalelkar spent about an hour on the stand, describing how Julian died. He was shot twice in the head, and autopsy findings led Kalelkar to conclude he had been dead for three days when his body was found.
That’s consistent with prosecution claims that Julian was slain shortly after Donerson and Jason Hudson. Balfour allegedly kidnapped Julian, but killed him a short time later.
But Balfour’s defense attorneys pressed Kalelkar about whether she could precisely determine the date Julian died. She conceded that, in theory, Julian might have been dead for less than three days. That is critical to the defense, as Balfour was taken into custody on the day of the killings, so if Julian died after that, Balfour could not have been the killer.
A string of police officers also testified Wednesday about Balfour’s arrest late on Oct. 24.
Lt. James Sanchez told the jury when Balfour was handcuffed, police took his cell phone, a bus card, and three sets of keys from his pockets.
In opening statements, prosecutors told jurors that Balfour had Jason Hudson’s SUV keys before he was arrested.
Prosecutors have claimed Balfour killed the Hudson family members in an act of jealous rage, after seeing a set of birthday balloons that Jennifer had sent to Julia. They believe he became enraged, believing the balloons had been sent by Julia’s new boyfriend.
Julia Hudson has testified that Balfour was such a jealous person that he didn’t like it when Julian kissed her.
“Julian couldn’t kiss me. (He’d say) ‘Don’t kiss my wife.’ Julian couldn’t lay up under me. ‘That is my wife. Get up off my wife.’ He was very jealous of Julian,” she testified.
But defense attorneys have said Balfour had nothing to do with the killings and suggested they could be connected to drug dealing by Jason Hudson.
Prosecutors are faced with the challenge of trying the crime based mostly on circumstantial evidence. There are no surviving witnesses to the murders and the physical evidence in the case does not directly tie Balfour to the murders. His DNA was not found on the murder weapon, and DNA and fingerprints found in the SUV where Jennifer Hudson’s nephew was killed did not match Balfour either.
The trial is expected to last about a month.