Jennifer Hudson Tearfully Testifies: Family “Did Not Like” Accused Murderer

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Our hearts go out to Jennifer Hudson today, after she took the stand to testify in the murder trial of her sister’s estranged husband, William Balfour, who is accused of murdering her mother, brother and nephew in 2008. Today is the first day of the trial in Chicago, and Hudson was one of the first witnesses for the prosecution. She spoke about how close she was to her mother, Darnell Donerson — they slept in the same bed until she was 16, and they spoke every day, which is how the singer/actress knew something was wrong on the morning the bodies of her mother and brother were found in their apartment.

“I noticed that — I’m looking to see the text from my mom and it wasn’t any,” she said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “I kept sitting there wondering, like that’s strange. That was the first thing I said, ‘My mom didn’t text me.’

“My sister called my fiance’s phone,” Hudson continued. “I remember it like yesterday, obviously. And he couldn’t understand what she was saying because she was so hysterical and I grabbed the phone form him and that’s when she told me.”

The Grammy and Oscar winner testified that she didn’t want her sister, Julia, to marry Balfour. “None of us myself, my mother, or my brother, we did not like how he treated her and I didn’t like how he treated my nephew.”

The prosecution says that Balfour, a former gang member, was angry that Julia was seeing someone else and had made numerous death threats to her and her family. Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Veryl Gambino told the court that Balfour told his estranged wife, “Julia, if you leave me, I’ll kill you. I’ll kill your family first and then I’ll kill you. You’ll be the last to die.”

The defense says evidence against him is circumstantial. Balfour faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of at least two of the three murder counts.

Related: Jennifer Hudson’s Family Tragedy Remembered As William Balfour Jury Selection Begins

[Photo: Getty Images]