Jurors shrugged off Jennifer Hudson’s star status and insisted it played no role in their decision to convict her former brother-in-law for slaying the Oscar winner’s mother, brother and nephew — a verdict that means the 31-year-old Chicago man will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“This wasn’t about her,” juror Jacinta Gholston said. “It was a case about William Balfour.”
Just an hour before convicting Balfour of first-degree murder Friday, jurors told the judge three among them still weren’t convinced of his guilt. Prosecutors said Balfour shot dead Hudson’s family members in an act of spite after his estranged wife at the time, Hudson’s sister, Julia Hudson, refused to reconcile.
As the verdict was read, Jennifer Hudson, sitting on a fourth-row bench, bit her lip, tears streaming down her cheeks. A minute later, she looked over at her sister and smiled.
The Hudson sisters released a statement late Friday extending a prayer to the Balfour family, saying “we have all suffered terrible loss in this tragedy.”
“It is our prayer that the Lord will forgive Mr. Balfour of these heinous acts and bring his heart into repentance someday,” they said.
It was overwhelming circumstantial evidence, especially cellphone records that placed Balfour in the vicinity of the killings, despite his adamant denials, that convinced the jury in the end, jurors said.