Killer of Jennifer Hudson’s relatives gets three life sentences without parole

Posted at 5:32 PM, Jul 24, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-24 17:32:19-04
CHICAGO (CNN) — Months after he was found guilty of murdering entertainer Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew, William Balfour on Tuesday was handed down three life sentences without the possibility of parole plus 120 years, Penny Mateck of the Cook County Sheriff’s office said.

“This significant sentence is appropriate given the heinous and inhumane nature of these crimes which demanded the full force of justice,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said in a statement.

In May, a jury found Balfour guilty on three counts of first-degree murder and four other counts related to the 2008 deaths of Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson; her brother, Jason Hudson; and Hudson’s nephew, 7-year-old Julian King.

Balfour was accused of fatally shooting the singer’s mother and brother in their Chicago home in October 2008. The body of the nephew was found three days later in an abandoned vehicle.

Prosecutors portrayed Balfour as a jealous man who murdered the three in a rage at the thought that his wife had a boyfriend.

During the trial, Hudson was called as the prosecution’s first of more than 80 witnesses. She broke down in tears several times on the stand and talked about her family.

“None of us wanted her to marry him,” Hudson said of her sister’s choice of Balfour. “We did not like how he treated her.

“Where he was, I tried not to be,” she said.

The crimes took place a year after Hudson, who rose to fame as a contestant on “American Idol,” won an Oscar for her role in the movie “Dreamgirls.”

Hudson spoke about her mother in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan this year.

“My mother was a very wise and strong person. I feel like she raised us well, and she prepared me well, and so that’s what I live by,” she said.

CNN’s Katherine Wojtecki contributed to this report.