Jennifer Hudson with her sister, Julia Hudson. Image via Twitter
The prosecution wasted no time in bringing its star witness to the stand Monday on day one of the Hudson family murder trail.
Pop star Jennifer Hudson was called to testify on the killing of her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew just after the defense attorneys for William Balfour finished their opening statements.
Wearing a black dress and no makeup, Hudson, 30, held back tears as she recounted how close she was to her mother, saying they slept in the same bed until the singer-actress was 16. The Associated Press reported that she remained emotional when asked about the time her sister, Julia, revealed her intentions to marry Balfour, who allegedly committed the triple murder in 2008.
“I would tell Julia over and over again not to marry William,” Hudson said. “None of us — myself, my mother, or my brother — we did not like how he treated her, and I didn’t like how he treated my nephew.”
During opening statements, lead prosecutor James McKay said Balfour threatened to kill Julia Hudson’s family the day before the attacks, telling her “If you ever leave me, I’m going to kill you, but I’m going to kill your family first.”
The prosecution claimed Balfour became enraged when he saw balloons at the Hudson family home in Chicago, assuming they were from another man when they were really for Julia’s birthday. This rage allegedly led him to commit the murders.
However, the defense presented a different scenario to jurors, as the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Assistant Public Defender Amy Thompson insisted that Jennifer Hudson’s celebrity status influenced authorities to make a quick arrest of Balfour without considering other suspects.
“The police were on the hook,” Thompson said. “They got one name out on that street. From the moment they first got that name they have been spending their time, building a case rather than investigating a crime.”
Jennifer Hudson, an Oscar-winning actress and former star of “American Idol,” in one of 300 potential witnesses for the trail, which could last up to a month.
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