Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial: Three key witnesses testify in William Balfour case

William Balfour is accused of killing three members of singer Jennifer Hudson's family
AP/Cook County Sheriff's Department/Getty Images
William Balfour is accused of killing three members of singer Jennifer Hudson's family
AP/Cook County Sheriff's Department/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) CHICAGO - Testimony continues Friday in the trial of William Balfour, the man accused of killing three relatives of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson.

Jurors heard Thursday from Robbin Myers, who testified Balfour came to a birthday party at his home in August 2008 and "went on a rant." Myers said on the stand that during their conversation, Balfour threatened to kill the Hudson family "at least 10 times."

In the cross-examination, Myers was asked repeatedly why he allowed the suspect o stay at a children's birthday party if he had a gun and appeared unbalanced.

According to The Chicago Tribune, other witnesses to testify included a former crack addict and a jail inmate.

These three witnesses helped to tie Balfour to the gun used in the fatal shooting. However, the witnesses proved the difficulty of prosecuting a case in which many of the key players have issues that could undermine their credibility.

Christopher Mitchell, 27, testified in his jail uniform, that Balfour showed him a .45-caliber pistol in Sept. 2008 that he recognized right away as belonging to his longtime friend, Hudson's brother, Jason.

Jurors also heard from Debra Hampton, a former neighbor who said she regularly bought crack cocaine from Balfour before his arrest. Hampton, who has a hearing disability, said that she had overheard a loud fight between Balfour and Julia Hudson a few days before the killings.

Hampton testified that the couple, who had been separated for several months, were arguing on the street a short distance away from her over Julia Hudson's new boyfriend. At one point, Balfour began calling Julia an offensive name, she said.

"I am going to (expletive) you and your family up," she remembered Balfour shouting. She claimed she was able to clearly hear the argument despite her hearing problems.

Hampton also told about a conversation she had with Balfour in Sept. 2008 when he complained that Jason Hudson had unjustly accused him of stealing his gun.

"He said if he had stole his gun, he would have used it on his fat ass," Hampton quoted Balfour as saying.

En ex-girlfriend of the accused killer also testified Thursday.

Chicago resident Diana Grant said she met Balfour through friends and began dating him in 2007.

Prosecutors said that three hours after he left Grant's apartment on Oct. 24, 2008, Balfour went inside the Hudson family house on Chicago's South Side and shot Hudson's mother and brother.

Investigators allege he then took 7-year-old Julian King from the home and killed him in his vehicle.

Complete coverage of the Hudson family murders on Crimesider