UK & World News
Actress Hudson Takes Stand At Murder Trial
The American singer and actress Jennifer Hudson fought back the tears in a Chicago court as she faced her brother-in-law, who is accused of killing her mother, brother and young nephew.
The Grammy and Oscar-winning star was the first witness called in the trial of William Balfour charged with murdering her three family members four years ago in a suburb of Chicago.
She never liked her brother-in-law, she said, and urged her sister repeatedly not to marry him.
"None of us wanted her to marry him," she said, her voice cracking with emotion.
"We did not like how he treated her."
The prosecution claims Balfour flew into a rage when he saw a gift of balloons left outside the family home.
Assuming they were a gift from another man to his estranged wife, Jennifer's sister Julia, he entered the house and shot their mother dead, before opening fire on their brother.
He then abducted their seven-year-old nephew in the dead brother's car and shot him as he cowered behind the front seat.
Hudson spoke about the harrowing day she learned of the deaths, flying home to Chicago and identifying her mother and brother's bodies at the mortuary.
Before Jennifer and her sister testified, prosecutors claimed William Balfour had made "deadly warnings" to Julia that he would kill her if she left him.
"Julia, if you leave me, I'll kill you. I'll kill your family first and then I'll kill you. You'll be the last to die," he is claimed to have said to his wife.
Jennifer Hudson is one of a number of singers propelled to stardom by the American Idol talent show.
She did not win it but went on to build a glittering career as a singer and an actress.
She is loved for her powerful, soaring voice and her ability to overcome adversity.
After the triple shootings she took only three months off work and was able to put her life back together and career on track.
She attributes her fortitude to her belief in God and the values her mother and grandmother taught her.
She will need all the strength she can muster as she sits through the details of her relatives' killings in a trial that is expected to last a month.