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Man Guilty Of Killing Jennifer Hudson's Family
Actress Jennifer Hudson's former brother-in-law has been convicted of murdering three members of her family.
William Balfour was found guilty of shooting dead Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson, 57, her brother Jason Hudson, 29, and her seven-year-old nephew Julian King.
The Grammy and Oscar-winning star, who gave evidence and also attended the 11-day trial throughout, was overcome with emotion when the verdict was read out.
Balfour, 31, a former gang member who was the estranged husband of the actress and singer's sister Julia at the time of the triple murders, faces life in prison.
The Hudson sisters left the courthouse without speaking to reporters but later released a statement extending a prayer to the Balfour family.
They said: "We have all suffered terrible loss in this tragedy. It is our prayer that the Lord will forgive Mr Balfour of these heinous acts and bring his heart into repentance someday."
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, who spoke to Hudson after the verdict, said the star was visibly relieved.
She said Hudson had been determined to attend every day of the trial out of a sense of obligation to her mother.
"She told me 'if it was me (who had been killed) my mother would be here every day. So, I'm going to be here every day,'" she said.
It took a jury at Cook County Criminal Court in Chicago three days to reach a verdict.
Witnesses told the trial that Balfour acted out of an obsessive jealousy and had repeatedly threatened to kill his estranged wife and her family after she refused to get back together with him.
The killings occurred the morning after Julia's birthday.
Prosecutors said Balfour flew into a rage when he stopped at the family home and saw a gift of balloons in the house from her new boyfriend.
Jennifer Hudson flew home from Florida to identify the bodies and was the first prosecution witness to testify.
She said she had disliked Balfour from outset and urged her sister not to marry him.
The prosecution had to build an overwhelming circumstantial case tying Balfour to the killings at the Hudson family home on October 24, 2008, because there were no surviving witnesses and no DNA or fingerprints.
Public defender Amy Thompson said she would appeal the verdict. "It has always been our position and it still is that William Balfour is innocent of these murders," she said.