William Balfour, the only suspect so far named in the murders of Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew , has been officially charged with their homicides, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office told MTV News on Tuesday (December 2).
Balfour, 27, was charged at noon with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of home invasion in connection with the deaths of Darnell Donerson, Jason Hudson and Julian King.
An arrest warrant was issued for Balfour late Monday , prompting his transfer from the reception center at Stateville Correctional Center, where he was being held for an alleged parole violation, to the Cook County jail.
The Hudson family was informed of the charges, and are “relieved and happy that the Chicago police and firemen were able to bring this case to a successful conclusion,” Chicago Police Deputy Supertintendent Steve Peterson told reporters at a press conference late Tuesday afternoon.
Peterson said that the Hudson family members had been “a key partner” in the investigation, assisting in establishing a timeline of events and other parts of the investigation “that we’d rather not say at this time.
“We don’t want to delve too deeply into what was done with the family members,” Peterson said.
Chicago police also commended the community for “stepping up to the plate and helping police solve this case.” Peterson said that community involvement was key for locating the SUV in which Julian’s body was found. Police believe Julian was killed in the SUV, and on the same day as Darnell and Jason, “however, we’re not exactly sure as to the timing of that,” Peterson said.
A hearing that was scheduled to take place Wednesday regarding the alleged parole violations — which extended to his involvement in this case — has been rescheduled for December 10, according to Jorge Montes, chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, although a bond hearing will take place on Wednesday.
Montes said that it didn’t make sense to hold the scheduled parole hearing as planned, since Balfour has been transferred and the charges will impact the parole board hearing. “[The charges] certainly enhance the evidence against him,” Montes told MTV News.
But even if Balfour is able to make bond on the homicide charges at his hearing Wednesday, Montes said, “he’s not going anywhere,” at least until the parole board hearing on December 10.
“He’s in a catch-22 situation,” Montes said. If he is found to have violated his parole, “we would revoke his parole [through May 2009],” Montes said.
Balfour was out on parole from the Illinois River Correctional Center on attempted-murder, carjacking and stolen-property charges, for which he had been sentenced to serve seven years.
During a closed hearing last month, investigators presented evidence that Balfour had a gun matching the weapon used in the murders. At the press conference Tuesday, police said that the weapon recovered had been linked back to the homicides, by comparing the it with casings found at the scene. There was other physical evidence as well, Peterson said, “but we don’t want to give too much up prior to the hearing” scheduled for Wednesday.
The bodies of Hudson’s mother, Darnell Hudson Donerson, and older brother, Jason, were discovered inside the home Hudson grew up in on Chicago’s South Side on November 24. Donerson was 57 years old, and Jason was 29. Julian King, Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew, was reported missing soon after. Julian’s body was found in an SUV on Chicago’s West Side the following Monday. All three victims died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Balfour has been the sole suspect in the killings since they were first publicized. He has denied involvement to authorities, and his alibi on the day of the killings has been contradicted by his pregnant girlfriend, who was interviewed by police. (Chicago police said Tuesday that the girlfriend was not given a “deal” to testify against Balfour.) A neighbor who lives on the block where Balfour was arrested claimed he saw a man matching Balfour’s description drive up in a white SUV and park on the block around noon on Friday, three hours after the slayings. The neighbor said the man reached into the glove compartment, got out of the car carrying what appeared to be a bottle of liquor and walked into the house where Balfour was later arrested.
While police noted that “some of the investigation is ongoing,” their choice of words at the conference seems to suggest they believe the case has been solved. “At this time, it doesn’t appear that anyone else was involved,” Peterson said.
[This story was originally published at 4:16 pm E.T. on 12.02.08]