Jennifer Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew was shot and killed in the back of his uncle’s stolen SUV, according to testimony Monday.
Julian King, known to his Oscar-winning aunt as “Tugga Bear,” lay on the rear seat floor when police found him Oct. 27, 2008, three days after his grandmother and uncle’s bodies were discovered at their Englewood home, in the 7000 block of South Yale.
Hudson and her elder sister, Julia Hudson – Julian’s mother – left the courtroom before the testimony of Chicago Police forensic investigator Raymond Jaster, as they have whenever witnesses show frank photographs of their dead relatives.
Jaster said Julian’s body was draped in a shower curtain with its hooks still attached. A spent shell casing was found on the rear seat, Jaster said.
And a small hole pierced the SUV’s carpet and metal floor.
“We believe it was caused by a bullet being fired,” Jaster told the jurors hearing the murder case against Julian’s stepdad.
William Balfour, 30, faces murder charges in the slayings of Darnell Donerson, 57, Jason Hudson, 29, and Julian. Balfour denies killing them, saying police rushed to make an arrest once they discovered the victims’ celebrity ties. His attorneys have pointed to an utter lack of physical evidence linking him to the crime scenes or gun.
Last week the witness stand was occupied by a string of lively, nicknamed witnesses, including Balfour’s mistresses and crack customers. who gave testimony of deadly threats and a confession.
The second week of the triple murder trial at the Cook County Criminal Courts building began in a drier fashion despite the continued presence and suddenly more glamorous appearance of the superstar. Wearing eye shadow and electric yellow heels, Jennifer Hudson listened to most of the dozen police employees called to attest for every last piece of evidence in the case prosecutors are building against Balfour.
The alleged murder weapon – a .45-caliber handgun – and a brown leather holster were spotted in a West Side field on Oct. 29 during a systematic search by 90 Chicago Police Academy recruits, said one officer. Another described the set of two GM keys she recovered nearby.
Officers said they photographed and inventoried the evidence they found, ensuring the crime scenes were protected, the crucial chain of command was correctly maintained. Photos taken “truly and accurately” reflected the Superman logo on the steering wheel of Balfour’s green Chrysler, the Sprite bottle found on the driver’s side floor of the SUV and the floral embroidery covering Julian’s body.
The 12 jurors and five remaining alternates have listened throughout the trial, some scribbling notes. By mid-afternoon Monday, one juror glanced at the clock as Jaster showed all the ways he processed the physical evidence.
On a hard bench, an older woman sitting with Balfour’s family snored as she had all morning. Then a younger woman leaned over and rested her head upon the dozer’s shoulder, her own eyes fluttering.
Silently, Judge Charles P. Burns rose to his feet, opening eyes he’d shut a moment before, to listen.