When Jennifer Hudson sang a tribute to Whitney Houston at this year’s Grammys, we were reminded of the extra layer of emotion she brought: Hudson knew something of what Bobbi Christina Brown was going through, and months after the murder of Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew in 2008, it was Whitney Houston who presented her with a Grammy. Now, the Oscar winner is no doubt bracing herself to relive that tragedy once more, as jury selection begins today for the trial of William Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson’s sister, Julia.
Balfour is accused of killing Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson and 7-year-old nephew Julian King (Julia’s son) in a jealous rage. Hudson is on the list of 300 prospective witnesses and is expected to attend the trial when opening statements are scheduled to begin on April 23. Jury selection will be a painstaking process, to assure they won’t be swayed by Hudson’s star status.
All these years later, we still get choked up remembering JHud’s brave return to the public eye at the Super Bowl and the Grammys following the murders. And just try not to tear up watching her Behind the Music interview from 2010 above.
For most people, The Notorious B.I.G.‘s death is the subject of endless speculation, debate and what is probably P. Diddy‘s single greatest song to date. For Chicago inmate Clayton Hill, Notorious B.I.G.’s killer is allegedly just a matter of remembering the details. Hill is now alleging that it was fellow Nation of Islam member Dawud Mahammad who ended the rapper’s life in 1997, while acting as a hit man. “[Dawoud Muhammad] stated to me that he was on the run for the murder [of The Notorious B.I.G.],” Hill told HipHopDX. “He disclosed that he was the shooter of The Notorious B.I.G. because he (Dawoud) was a former Blood gang member and was paid to do so.”
Hill’s claims paint an elaborate plot involving the Nation of Islam, aliases and transporting the murder weapon across statelines. Earlier this year the LAPD began investigating new evidence which “reinvigorated” Biggie Smalls’ unsolved murder case. Since Hill claims to have meet with the FBI in October 2010, his revelations could very well be the new details they were exploring. Alternatively, it could be a particularly cold-blooded way to promote his new e-book Diary of an Ex-Terrorist. Call us a little bit skeptical until after he doesn’t have a new release coming out.
[Photo: Getty Images]
This cold Monday just got even colder. Sources are reporting that Cali Swag District member M-Bone was killed last night in his hometown of Inglewood, California. The “Teach Me How To Dougie” rapper, whose real name is Montae Talbert, was the victim of an apparent drive-by shooting. He was 22 years old. According to TMZ, M-Bone was standing by his car outside of a liquor store when shots were fired. Detectives are still investigating a motive, but they suspect the act was random. M-Bone was taken a to a local hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.
Cali Swag District leader C-Smoove tweeted this morning, “Ma life changed drastically in the blink of an eye. RIP M-Bone.” We send our thoughts and warm wishes out to his friends and family. Check out the video that made them famous below, and do the Dougie one more time in M-Bone’s honor.
[Photo: Getty Images]
We don’t usually come across stories about celebrities who have killed people (or attempted to kill people) that often, but this week there are at least three coming out of Tinseltown. The first story, which we first reported back in June, has to do with former Melrose Place actress Amy Locane. Locane is being indicted on charges of aggravated manslaughter and assault by automobile after killing a motorist in New Jersey. She admitted at the scene that she had been drinking that day. If convicted, she faces up to thirty-five years in prison.
The second celeb to face the court this week is Shelley Malil, the actor from The 40-Year-Old Virgin, who received a life sentence yesterday for attempted murder. Malil stabbed his ex-girlfriend Kendra Beebe twenty times in 2008 after she spent time with another man. He will be eligible for parole in twelve years. Finally, the bizarre case of the Food Network chef Juan Carlos Cruz came to a close this week when the chef was sentenced to nine years in prison for soliciting two homeless men to kill his wife. TMZ has the full, bizarre story on Cruz, which involves a murder-suicide pact and is totally a Law And Order episode waiting to happen.
Happy week before Christmas, everyone, and may you nestle all snug in your bed knowing that Hollywood’s most volatile celebs are locked up tight.
[Photos: Splash News Online]
And now for the most awful post we have ever written. Michael L. Brea, an actor who has appeared on Ugly Betty and in the film Step Up 3D, reportedly murdered his mother with a samurai sword while screaming passages from the Bible. The slaying took place early this morning around 2 AM in his Brooklyn apartment. Neighbors heard the sounds of screaming and frantic footsteps, and police were summoned soon after.
“I heard him chasing her [his mother] through the house and just saying a bunch of [Bible] passages like, ‘Repent, Repent, Repent,'” a neighbor told WPIX 11 News. “I heard him chasing her through the house, and [then] I heard a loud scream. So I had my father call the cops.”
“I had just dozed off to go to sleep and then I woke up to somebody screaming,” said another resident. “It sounded like lady’s voice and after I while I just didn’t hear the woman’s voice again.”
The police found the apartment “extremely bloody,” and discovered Brea’s 55-year-old mother Yannick lying on the floor, bleeding from multiple stab wounds. One source claims that she was decapitated. Medical services say that she was dead on the scene. Authorities had to tazer the young actor before bringing him to Kings County Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. His condition is described as “emotionally disturbed.”
No charges have yet been filed, and no explanation why the horrific crime took place. But more details to come.
In a sad twist that no one expected, it was revealed that Mark Ruffalo‘s brother Scott was not murdered, but died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound that apparently occurred during a game of Russian Roulette. Shaha Mishaal Adham, 26, has been released from the Beverly Hills jail where she was being held, and her lawyer insists that she will not be charged with anything. Apparently Adham walked into the scene after arriving at Ruffalo’s home to obtain her keys. “This was an accidental shooting by someone that plays with guns,” her attorney said. “A series of wrong decisions starting with her not staying at the scene of the shooting caused an incredible chain reaction of stupidity and bad luck.”
Our thoughts continue to go out to the family of Scott Ruffalo, who will be buried at a private service this week.
William Balfour, the only suspect in the triple murder of Jennifer Hudson‘s mom, brother and nephew, will not be walking out of jail today. Balfour is currently being held on a parole violation, but was thisclose to being released if there were no other violations found to keep him behind bars. His pregnant girlfriend is responsible for extending his lockdown, after she told cops he was in possession of a gun that matched the one used in the murder.
His girlfriend has also told authorities that Balfour confessed to being involved in the murders, and he has admitted to being at the Hudson home the morning the family members were gunned down. Looks like confession-watch has officially started. [ChicagoTribune. Photo: FilmMagic]
A great fury gripped America in 1910 after boxer Jack Johnson became the first undisputed black heavyweight champion of the world. In those unenlightened times, a desegregated fight was unheard of. But after years of dodging Johnson’s challenges, white champ James J. Jeffries came out of retirement “for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro.”
When the pair squared off in Reno, the crowd chanted “Kill the nigger” and the ringside band played “All Coons Look Alike to Me.” And then Jeffries threw in the towel in the 15th round. When the news broke, riots and lynchings around the U.S. claimed the lives of at least 20 blacks and two whites.
Johnson was hounded out of the country for marrying a white woman in 1911, lost his title in Cuba in 1915, and spent the remainder of his life as the kind of fallen spectacle we now call “Mike Tyson.” Racism, as ever, remains the hardest palooka to keep down. — Charles Bottomley
After the jump, watch a clip of Jack Johnson‘s 1909 fight.
Ah, the joys of minor league stardom. For Bob Crane, his six-season sentence making the world laugh at Nazis in Hogan’s Heroes brought him just that. The dedicated sex addict lived a life full of barflies with rug-burned knees and sheets crusted with dried jizz.
When his friend John Carpenter (no relation to the Halloween director) got him a prehistoric video camera, he started filming his sexcapades — many of them co-starring his techie pal. The orgy came to a premature end in 1978, when Bob was found bludgeoned to death in an Arizona hotel. Carpenter was the prime suspect, but DNA tests on the blood found in his car were inconclusive.
The 2002 film Auto Focus revived Crane’s notoriety, portraying him as a churchgoing family man who ends up screwing his brains out. The Cranes were disgusted. “My father had been having extramarital affairs and photographing hundreds of nude women engaged in sexual activity since the 1940s … He was an overly sexual person from an early age,” protested son Scotty — who, to prove it, posted prehistoric porn loops featuring Pop on the Web. Even his father might agree that some things are better left behind closed doors. — Charles Bottomley
After the jump, watch Bob perform “These Boots Were Made for Walkin'” — on the drums!
In 1921, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was the biggest comic actor in America, the Jazz Age’s answer to Will Farrell. Paramount was paying him $1 million to make six laff riots a year (that’s more than 12 million in 2008 dollars). One fan described dancing with him as “like floating in the arms of a huge doughnut.” Then, 30-year-old aspiring actress Virginia Rappe died of a ruptured bladder after an epic party in Arbuckle’s San Francisco hotel room. Oops.
The cops concluded that the damage had been done by Arbuckle’s 300-pound girth during sexual intercourse. He was booked after a friend of the actress claimed Arbuckle had raped Rappe in the hotel room. Rumors quickly swirled around the case. It was whispered that Rappe had been abused by everything from an icicle to a champagne bottle.
After two mistrials, Arbuckle was acquitted, but the legal fees left him penniless. In 1922, he was banned from making movies and left with but a solitary friend — alcohol. Arbuckle died on June 30, 1933, aged 46, ironically the day after he had been signed by Warner Bros. to make his first feature film in 12 years. — Chuck Bottomley