Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial: Jury selection almost complete for accused killer William Balfour
Fourteen people were selected Monday to be among the 12 jurors and six alternates after nine hours of interviewing potential jurors one by one. Cook County Circuit Judge Charles Burns and attorneys were looking to weed out anyone who might be affected by the 30-year-old Hudson's celebrity.
Balfour, 30, is charged with the murder of Hudson's mother, brother and nephew in 2008, and faces a maximum life prison sentence if convicted.
Hudson's name came up frequently during Monday's questioning of potential jurors, though most insisted that despite what they knew about her or heard in the media about the case, they could consider only the evidence presented at the trial. Testimony begins April 23.
One woman in her 30s, a salesperson at Xerox, was dismissed Monday after she told those assembled, including Balfour, that she is a fan of Hudson's and would be unable to give the defendant a fair trial.
Among those selected to serve on the panel were several people who said they had relatives who were murdered and a man who said that 25 years ago, an attacker grabbed his sister's purse at a bus stop and slashed her throat, badly injuring her.
Hudson, who was not in Chicago at the time her family members were killed, told investigators she was in touch with her mother almost every day and became concerned when she couldn't reach her by late morning on Oct. 24, 2008.
Hours later, the bodies of her mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29, were found shot to death in the family home. The body of her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, was found days later in an SUV several miles away.
Balfour's lawyers have said the evidence is circumstantial. But prosecutors say the proof includes gun residue found on his car's steering wheel, and that testimony will show he lied about his whereabouts the day of the killings.
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