Jennifer Hudson was the first witness to take the stand this afternoon for the trial of William Balfour, the man charged with killing the singer’s mother, brother, and nephew.
The Associated Press reports that Hudson was asked about her reaction when she heard that her sister Julia planned to marry Balfour. Hudson said:
“None of us wanted her to marry William. We did not like how he treated her.”
Balfour has been charged with the murder of Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, her brother Jason Hudson, 29, and her 7-year-old nephew Julian King. Balfour allegedly killed Hudson’s family after Julia started dating another man.
ABC reports that the trial opened today in Chicago. State’s Attorney Veryl Gambino began the trial by recounting Balfour’s alleged threat to Julia Houston: “If you leave me, I’ll kill you. I’ll kill your family first and then I’ll kill.”
Balfour has pleaded not guilty to all three first degree murder charges brought against him for the 2008 slayings.
Jennifer Hudson, who won an Oscar shortly before three members of her family were murdered, has pledged to spend every day of the trial in the courtroom. ABC expects the trial to last about a month.
Former prosecutor Ron Safer said that Hudson’s presence will have an affect on the case, but he isn’t sure if it will be for better or worse. Safer said:
“You never know how jurors will react to celebrity. Some are going to be attracted to celebrity, as our society tends to be. Some will resent it. Some people will say, ‘If my relative were murdered, I wouldn’t have gotten all this police attention and the like, why should she?’”
The jurors have all been warned not to pay attention to the media coverage of the case.