William Balfour, the only person detained by police thus far in the murders of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew, might have been in prison last weekend if authorities had decided to revoke his parole when police found him with cocaine in June. As the investigation continued, Chicago police said on Tuesday that they now think it is possible more than one person was involved in the slayings.
Law enforcement sources told the Chicago Tribune that while they're focusing on Balfour's movements the day of the murders, October 24, they're also trying to determine whether someone else drove Balfour to the Hudsons' home on Chicago's South Side that morning.
Witnesses have said that Balfour, 27, drove his Chrysler to the Hudson's block around 7 a.m. on Friday, but the vehicle was found parked about a mile away outside a local high school later that day. Security video showed someone parking it there, but detectives have not been able to identify the driver from the images. The time stamp on the video showed the car was left there around 12:30 p.m. on Friday, but the paper said it was unclear if that time stamp was accurate.
Balfour, the estranged husband of the singer's sister, Julia Hudson, is still being held on a parole violation after being arrested and questioned in the case on Friday, but has not been charged. His girlfriend told police that he came to her home on Chicago's West Side shortly after Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason, were killed in their home; the body of Hudson's 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, was discovered Monday morning in the back of Jason Hudson's Chevy Suburban, which was parked on the street on Chicago's West Side.
On Wednesday afternoon (October 29), police found a gun in an alley approximately a block from where the Suburban was parked, the Tribune reported. At press time police had not announced whether the weapon was connected to the shootings.
The Tribune reports that cell phone records placed Balfour on the West Side at the time that his Chrysler appears to have been left at the high school, so if the time stamp on the video is accurate, someone else might have driven Balfour's car from the Hudson home to the school. Either way, police don't believe that Balfour used his own car to travel from the Hudsons' home to his girlfriend's.
Over the course of the last few days, details about Balfour's past emerged, including news that, while on parole for a 1999 attempted-murder conviction, he was arrested for cocaine possession in June of this year. Court records show that Balfour was stopped by police after he got out of a car that had turned a corner at high speed in an area where police were investigating calls of shots fired. When officers approached the car Balfour was driving, they found cocaine in it.
According to the Tribune, the Illinois Department of Corrections was contacted about the new drug charges because of Balfour's parole, but the agency opted not to revoke his parole and return him to prison. The case was dropped in July after a Cook County Circuit Judge found police had no probable cause to arrest Balfour. A law-enforcement source added that Balfour had also violated his parole by failing to complete required counseling programs for substance abuse and anger management, but that his case "fell through the cracks." TMZ noted that Balfour's father is serving a 30-year prison sentence for murder, that his brother is in prison for drug dealing and that, according to court documents, Balfour was a member of the notoriously violent Gangster Disciples gang.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Balfour will face a November 10 hearing at Stateville prison to determine whether there is probable cause to revoke his parole for his failure to meet his anger-management-class requirements from the 1999 conviction.
"He's got some substantive alleged violations, including 'Did he abide by terms of substance-abuse counseling?' and 'Did he abide by anger-manager counseling?' " Jose Montes, chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, told the paper. Balfour, who served almost seven years in prison on the 1999 conviction, and who missed a meeting with his parole agent on the day of the murders, was due to have his parole lifted in May. The paper reported that he told his parole agent that he was "babysitting on the West Side" during a phone conversation on Friday.
[This story was originally published at 9:59 a.m. ET on 10.29.2008]