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Jennifer Hudson's former brother-in-law allegedly admitted to killing at least two members of the Oscar winner's family in 2008, the suspect's mistress testified during a Friday hearing.
William Balfour was married to Hudson's sister, Julia Hudson, when he began seeing Shonta Cathey in 2007, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Julia Hudson had asked for a divorce shortly before the murders occurred, and reportedly began seeing someone else as well.
Balfour, who has been charged in the slayings of Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, her brother, Jason Hudson, 29, and her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, allegedly told Cathey to lie to the police about his whereabouts on the day of the killings. At first, she did. But she then changed her tune.
The Sun-Times has more on Cathey's testimony:
“He said, ‘They got shot,’ and I said, ‘Who?’ He said, ‘Her mother and her brother,’ and I was looking at him crazy … like bug eyed, and just staring at him,” Shonta Cathey told jurors.
“He say he went in and the brother rushed him, and he shot him, and the mother was coming down the stairs, calling his name, and he shot her.”
Cathey's testimony was not the only blow delivered to Balfour's defense team on Friday. A neighbor of the suspect's mistress reportedly told jurors he saw Balfour driving a white SUV on the day of the murders, which may have been stolen from Jason Hudson after he was killed, NBC Chicago reports.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Cathey told Balfour that police were looking for him in connection with the murders, but allowed him to stay in her house for the day -- until they tracked him down using cell phone signals.
“I was in love with William,” she told jurors. “And I didn’t want him to get in any trouble.”
When she asked the suspect about the whereabouts of 7-year-old Julian King, he reportedly told her the boy "was outside" at the time of the slayings. Julian was found dead in an SUV three days after the his uncle and grandmother were discovered dead.
With no surviving witnesses to the murders, prosecutors must offer overwhelming circumstantial evidence that Balfour committed the crime. One challenge will be tying Balfour to the alleged murder weapon, a silver and black .45-calibre handgun.
Prosecutors claim Balfour targeted the family in a horrific act of vindictiveness against his ex-wife. They believe he became enraged by balloons he saw at the home that he thought were from her new boyfriend.
Defense attorneys have said the killing could be connected to alleged drug dealing by Hudson's brother.
Prosecutors contend Balfour went inside the three-story house around 9 a.m. and shot Hudson's mother and brother. Investigators allege he then drove off in Jason Hudson's sport utility vehicle with 7-year-old Julian inside, and later shot the boy in the head as he lay behind a front seat.
Jennifer Hudson took the witness stand for about 30 minutes Monday in sometimes tearful testimony. Hudson, who was in Florida at the time of the shootings, testified that she was dismayed when she learned in 2006 that her sister was going to marry Balfour, whom she said she always disliked.
If convicted of at least two of the murder counts, Balfour would face a mandatory life sentence.