Jennifer Hudson Takes the Stand in Family Murder Trial

"I told my sister not to marry him," she tells jurors of defendant William Balfour.

Posted: 04/23/2012 02:55 PM EDT

Jennifer Hudson has taken the stand in Chicago for the trial of William Balfour, the man accused of murdering her mother, brother and nephew. Balfour has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in the October 2008 killings, which prosecutors believe were prompted by jealousy over his estranged wife, Julia Hudson, Jennifer's sister, dating someone else.

An emotional Hudson had to relive the painful events of 2008 as she testified that she warned her sister, Julia, not to marry Balfour.

“I would tell Julia over and over again not to marry William,” Hudson said. “None of us, myself, my mother, or my brother, we did not like how he treated her and I didn’t like how he treated my nephew.”


The Academy Award-winning actress — who, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, wore no makeup to court and wept frequently on the stand — went on to describe her relationship with her mother, Darnell Donerson. She told jurors they were so close, they slept in the same bed until she was 16 and spoke every day after she moved out. She identified a photo of Donerson by saying, "That's my mommy."

 

A lapse in their daily communication was the first signal for Hudson that something was wrong when she woke up on the day her family members were murdered. Hudson, who was in Tampa, Florida, with her fiance, David Otunga, recalled: 


“I noticed that — I’m looking to see the text from my mom and it wasn’t any,” she said. “I kept sitting there wondering, like that’s strange. That was the first thing I said, ‘My mom didn’t text me.’”

Hudson claimed she made another attempt at reaching her mom, to no avail. “Maybe she’s busy, I don’t know. I knew she would get back to me, you know, so I remember falling back to sleep. And when I woke up, that’s when I got the news."

A judge called for a break at about 1:15 p.m., and Hudson will be called back to the stand at 2:30 p.m. central time. 

Check back for updates on Hudson's testimony and the trial. 

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