Reginald Jones used to perform odd jobs for the Hudson family at their Englewood neighborhood home, fixing cars, running errands, even walking the family dog, named Dreamgirl after the musical that won Jennifer Hudson an Oscar.


But under questioning Tuesday by attorneys for William Balfour, the 55-year-old handyman and former Hudson neighbor admitted he used much of the money he earned to buy cocaine from the singer’s brother and feed a daily habit.

Jones also told jurors he would occasionally help with the drug sales, manning the front door to greet customers seeking $10 bags of crack from Jason Hudson, who had been shot in the leg in a home invasion in Michigan a few years earlier and couldn’t get around well. He testified he once helped cook powder cocaine into about 21/2 ounces of crack in the Hudson family’s kitchen.

“That’s a lot of dime bags, wouldn’t you agree?” asked Balfour’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Amy Thompson. Appearing flustered, Jones responded, “Yes.”

THE defense is trying to make the case that drug links led to slayings not their client. The testimony came in the seventh day of the trial of Balfour, 30, the former brother-in-law of Jennifer Hudson accused of gunning down her 29-year-old brother; mother Darnell Donerson, 57; and 7-year-old nephew Julian King on Oct. 24, 2008. Prosecutors allege Balfour was angry his wife, Julia Hudson, wanted a divorce and was seeing someone new.

Numerous witnesses, including Julia Hudson, have testified for the prosecution that Balfour made repeated threats to kill the entire family if she tried to leave him. The jury has also heard evidence Balfour stole the alleged murder weapon from Jason Hudson weeks before the killings and was seen brandishing it in the neighborhood.