William Balfour, the man accused of murdering three members of singer-actress Jennifer Hudson's family in the fall of 2008, was found guilty Friday on all counts.
The jury made its decision after about 18 hours of deliberation. Balfour faced three counts of first-degree murder, as well as charges of aggravated kidnapping, residential burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle and home invasion.
- First-degree murder of Darnell Donerson: GUILTY
- First-degree murder of Jason Hudson: GUILTY
- First-degree murder of Julian King: GUILTY
- Aggravated Kidnapping: GUILTY
- Residential Burglary: GUILTY
- Possession of a Stolen Vehicle: GUILTY
Balfour, who turned 31 years old on Thursday, now faces a life sentence in prison. His next court date is June 8.
Balfour showed almost no emotion as the verdict was read. A few of his relatives looked upset, one repeatedly shaking her head and muttering that the verdict was unfair.
Jennifer Hudson shook her head and held back tears as her fiancé, David Otunga, held her close.
Balfour's attorney, Amy Thompson, called her client a "stoic young man" who is devastated by the verdict. An appeal is planned, she said.
"It has always been our position and it still is that William Balfour is innocent of these murders,'' she said.
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez expressed gratitude to the jury, calling the murders a
"vicious, cold-blooded, inhumane execution" of three people.
"The evidence in this case was overwhelming. It was overwhelming, and everything that was presented for us made it clear... it was a tsunami of evidence, circumstantial evidence which is tremendous evidence, and that's why the law allows it," said Alvarez. "We are very, very happy with the verdict in this case."
Jurors the main key to all of that circumstantial evidence were records that showed the location of Balfour's cell phone on the morning of the slayings.
Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, were found shot to death on Oct. 24, 2008 in the family's home on Chicago's south side. Hudson's nephew, 7-year-old Julian King, was found murdered in an SUV days later.
Balfour pleaded not guilty to the murders in January 2009.
A little more than two weeks ago, Hudson was the first witness called in Balfour's trial. Julia Hudson, the Oscar winner's sister and Balfour's ex-wife, took the stand after her sibling.
Jennifer Hudson broke down crying during her testimony as she talked about her family and the last time she saw them.
"None of us wanted her to marry him," she said. "I told her over and over not to marry him."
Prosecutors then called 81 more witnesses, some who spoke of threats Balfour made to Julia Hudson and some who said they saw Balfour with a gun. A girlfriend testified that he confessed to the murders.
Prosecutors' final witness provided a direct link between suspect William Balfour and the murder scene. A detective testified that when Balfour was arrested, he had the keys to Jason Hudson's stolen GMC Suburban, where Julian King was found.
The defense disputed the evidence in their closing arguments, saying the keys aren't what prosecutors claim.
"The one constant in this case is that every piece of DNA evidence excludes William Balfour," said attorney Amy Thompson.
Balfour didn't take the stand in his own defense.
A recap of trial coverage:
- Day 14: Statement from Jennifer, Julia Hudson on Guilty Verdict
- Day 14: For Jurors, Cell Phone Forensics Were Key
- Day 14: Balfour Guilty on All Counts
- Day 14: Hudson Trial Jury Makes Video Requests
- Day 13: Day 2 of Deliberations Ends Without Verdict
- Day 12: Day 1 Deliberations in Hudson Trial End Without Verdict
- Day 11: Testimony in Hudson Family Murder Trial Ends Without Defendant Taking Stand
- Day 10: Friend of Balfour's Testifies Against Him at Hudson Trial
- Day 9: Witness: Hudson Had One Enemy, "That Cat" Balfour
- Day 8: Balfour DNA Not Found on Murder Weapon: Expert
- Day 8: Judge Bars Phones in Court
- Day 7: Neighbor Says Balfour Threatened Julia Hudson
- Day 7: Court Denies Jennifer Hudson Is Getting Star Treatment
- Day 6: Police Testify at Hudson Trial About Finding Gun
- Day 6: "Somebody Killed My Mother:" Hudson 911 Tape Released to Media
- Day 5: Balfour Girlfriend Says He Confessed to Killing Hudson Family Members
- Day 4: Witness: Balfour Repeatedly Threatened Hudson Family
- Day 3: Prosecutors Show Photos of Hudson's Slain Nephew
- Day 2: Cops Describe Finding Slain Hudson Family Members
- Day 1: Jennifer Hudson Breaks Down During Murder Trial