December 2, 2008 / 10:25 PM / 11 years ago

Police confident Hudson family murders solved

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Police charged the estranged brother-in-law of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson with the murders of her mother, brother and nephew, expressing confidence on Tuesday the evidence was sufficient to convict.

This undated photograph, released by the Illinois Department of Corrections October 25, 2008, shows William Balfour. REUTERS/Courtesy of the Illinois Department of Corrections/Handout

“You can never always know how a jury will decide a case but I’m confident the evidence is there and I’m confident we’ll be successful,” Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said.

Police said they had the murder weapon and physical evidence as well as testimony that would convict William Balfour, 27, the estranged husband of Jennifer Hudson’s elder sister, Julia.

The motive for the October 24 murders involved a dispute between the two, police said.

Found dead from gunshots were Hudson’s mother Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29, in the family’s South Side home. The body of Julian King, Julia’s son, was found four days later, with the gun used in the slayings found nearby.

In addition to the slayings Balfour was charged with home invasion.

Balfour’s mother Michele Balfour protested her son’s innocence to reporters, saying police relied on the word of one of his girlfriends who was facing a drug charge.

“They got a botched-up investigation,” she said, adding Balfour loved Hudson’s mother, Donerson, more than he loved her. “But I’m still his mother.”

Weis said no deals were made in exchange for witness statements implicating Balfour, who has been held on a parole violation since the slayings.

“We had citizens standing up and doing the right thing,” he said.

Hudson got her start in 2005 competing on the U.S. television show “American Idol” although she failed to reach the final. She later won the role of Effie White in the 2006 musical “Dreamgirls” and earned a best supporting actress Oscar for her performance.

Reporting by Andrew Stern; editing by Michael Conlon and Cynthia Osterman

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