After some 18 hours of deliberations over three days, jurors have reached a verdict in the trial of the man charged with murdering three of Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson’s family members, ABC News is reporting.
William Balfour, Hudson’s former brother-in-law, was found guilty on all counts, including three counts of first-degree murder in the October 2008 shooting deaths of the singer’s mother, Darnell Donerson; brother Jason Hudson; and 7-year-old nephew, Julian King.
Only a few hours earlier the jury sent a note to the judge saying they were split in deliberations. They added, “We are trying.”
Hudson, sitting with her fiancé David Otunga and her other family members, cried quietly as the verdict was read into the record.
Balfour, who turned 31 on Thursday, had no reaction. His family, however, began tearing up after the verdicts.
In addition to the murders, Balfour was also convicted of home invasion, aggravated kidnapping, residential burglary and possession of a stolen motor vehicle for the 2008 crimes. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
According to prosecutors, Balfour killed the three victims in a jealous rage after his then-estranged wife, Hudson’s sister Julia, refused to reconcile with him.
Defense attorneys argued the evidence tying Balfour to the October 2008 killings was circumstantial and accused police and prosecutors of rushing to make a case against their client once they discovered his connection to the Oscar-winning actress.
As for the murders, which took place in the family home in Chicago’s tough Englewood neighborhood where Jennifer Hudson was raised, the defense proposed an alternate theory — they were a drug hit brought on by Jason Hudson’s crack business.
The Chicago Sun-times writes that the high-profile murder trial began on April 23 in Chicago. Prosecutors called more than 80 witnesses over two weeks, and the defense rested its case after 30 minutes, calling only two witnesses to the stand.
ABC News has more on the Jennifer Hudson family murder trial in the video below: