Balfour, who now faces a mandatory life prison sentence, showed no emotion. A
few of his relatives looked upset, one repeatedly shaking her head and
muttering that the verdict was unfair.
Jurors took three days of deliberation to reach a verdict. Just an hour before
their unanimous verdict on all counts, jurors sent a note to the judge that
three jurors still weren’t fully convinced of Balfour’s guilt.
The 11-day trial, attended by Miss Hudson, heard harrowing evidence, and was
shown photographs of the victims’ bloody bodies. The Hollywood actress was
the first witness to appear, crying as she faced Balfour in the dock.
The proceedings were at times stormy and during closing speeches Balfour’s
defence attorney was almost shouting that the prosecution case was not
proved. The defence claimed an enemy of her brother Jason Hudson, who they
said dealt crack cocaine, had carried out the killings. But they were only
able to produce two witnesses and little evidence to support that theory.
The defence team afterwards insisted Balfour was innocent and asked for a
Jurors said Miss Hudson’s celebrity and the massive media attention on the
case did not affect their deliberations.
Because there was no witness or forensic evidence the prosecution relied on
circumstantial evidence, including mobile phone records which showed that
Balfour had been in the vicinity at the time of the murders in October 2008.
Witnesses reported him stalking the house after his relationship with Julia
Hudson went wrong, and making threats to kill first her family and then her.
Miss Hudson was a true American success story. The daughter of a bus driver,
she grew up in Chicago’s South Side, one of the most crime-ridden districts
of the United States. When the murders were committed neighbours heard
shots, but didn’t report them to police because shooting is so common in the
Miss Hudson first came to public attention as a finalist of the American Idol
television talent show in 2004, and won an Academy Award three years later.
She also won a Grammy for her debut album.
Miss Hudson’s mother encouraged her singing talent when she was a child,
attending her local Baptist Church, choir practice and amateur singing
They were close, and Miss Hudson sent her text messages every day. She began
to fear that something had gone wrong when her mother failed to respond on
the day of the killings, then learnt what had happened in a hysterical phone
call from her sister.
Balfour carried out the killings with a .45 calibre handgun allegedly owned by
Jason Hudson. The court heard he had flown into a jealous rage when he saw a
gift of balloons outside the house which he believed were a gift from his
wife’s new boyfriend.
He entered the house and shot Miss Hudson’s mother dead in the living room,
then shot her brother in the head as he lay in bed. He then abducted Julian
King, the nephew who Ms Hudson called “Tugga Bear”, and later shot him.
Afterwards he had sought to cover his tracks, switching clothing and enlisting
friends to try to build an alibi. Balfour, a former member of Chicago’s
Gangster Disciple gang, was on parole at the time of the killings having
been convicted of attempted murder and carjacking.