A teenage girl testified Tuesday that Jennifer Hudson’s estranged brother-in-law complained to her about his crumbling marriage and then threatened to kill his wife before three of Hudson’s family members were found slain.
Maria Wilkes said she barely knew William Balfour when he vented to her as the then 13-year-old sat on her bike at the Yale Elementary School playground in the summer of 2008.
“He was just talking about how his wife was cheating . . . and he didn’t want to leave her,” Wilkes said on the seventh day of Balfour’s triple murder trial.
Later that summer, Wilkes said she stumbled upon the couple in a heated argument as she made her way to a corner store near 69th and Wentworth. Wilkes, now 17, couldn’t hear much but she did catch Balfour threatening Julia Hudson.
“I heard him tell her that if she were to call police, he would kill her and her family,” Wilkes said.
That fall, Balfour, angry that his wife was ready to sever ties, killed the Hudsons’ mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, brother, Jason Hudson, 29, and Julia Hudson’s 7-year-old son, Julian King, in a jealous rage, Cook County prosecutors said.
None of the police investigators who have testified so far have linked forensic evidence taken from the crime scenes to Balfour, 30. And while Illinois State Police forensic investigator Caryn Tucker confirmed Tuesday that three bullets from the 2008 slayings were fired from the .45 caliber weapon prosecutors said Balfour used, no one has testified that Balfour’s fingerprints were on the black and silver gun.
Defense attorneys have suggested that Balfour was made a scapegoat because of the victims’ relationship to a world famous celebrity. His lawyers questioned why police never investigated anyone related to Jason Hudson’s drug dealing business.
Reginald Jones, a close friend of the Hudsons, Tuesday gave some insight on the illegal trade Jason Hudson conducted from his family’s home in the 7000 block of South Yale. Jones, an admitted drug user, once saw Jason Hudson cook 2 1/4 ounces of powered cocaine into crack at the family’s residence. And since the burly barbecue-loving Jason Hudson had a hard time walking after he was shot in the leg, Jones said he would help answer the door as customers came to the home for a fix between 4 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Just last week, the Oscar-winning actress told jurors she did not know what her brother did for a living, while her half-brother attested that Jason Hudson was a small time drug dealer who only doled out dimebags from the white SUV his celebrity sister gave him.
Jones did, however, agree with some of the prosecution’s witnesses who described Balfour as a jealous man. Jones said Balfour lectured him when he made the mistake of calling Julia Hudson “baby.” Well after Balfour was kicked out of the Hudsons’ home Jones also said he caught Balfour lurking on the steps outside in the middle of the night. “He shocked me,” Jones said.