Prosecutors Show Photos of Hudson's Slain Nephew

Forensic pathologist says Julian King was shot twice in the head

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jennifer Hudson remained out of the courtroom while jurors were shown crime scene evidence of Julian King's death. Prosecutors went into detail in an attempt to tie William Balfour to the slayings. Charlie Wojciechowski reports. (Published Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012)

    The otherwise blank-faced defendant accused of killing Jennifer Hudson's family appeared to cry at his trial Wednesday when prosecutors projected photographs onto a large screen of the bloodied body of the youngest victim -- the Oscar winner's 7-year-old nephew.

    It was the third day of testimony and the first time Hudson's former brother-in-law, William Balfour, showed any emotion. After his lawyer grabbed a box of tissues and handed it to him, Balfour hung his head and dabbed his eyes in full view of the jury.

    One of the graphic photographs showed bullet holes through the top of Julian King's head. Another showed the boy, nicknamed Juice Box, laying on a medical examiner's table with his white T-shirt drenched in blood.

    The forensic pathologist who examined King's body described how the boy died. One wound was superficial, Mikitra Kalekar said, and the other went through the back of his head, fracturing his skull and tearing through his brain before coming out through his left cheek.

    He likely was killed the same day as Donnerson and Jason Hudson, Kalekar said, based on the lack of rigor mortis and the early stage of decomposition.

    Wearing mostly black and with her long hair down over her shoulders, Hudson spent much of the morning outside the courtroom as prosecutors showed the photographs of Julian. Her sister, Julia Hudson, who is Julian's mother, also stayed out of the room. The sisters walked into court after prosecutors were done showing the photos.

    Prosecutors often give victims notice that they are about to enter disturbing evidence to give them a chance to leave.

    Prosecutors then moved to the digital forensics involved in finding and extracting data from William Balfour's cell phone.

    Chicago police filed an emergency request with Sprint to track the phone because they thought it would lead them to Balfour and the missing 7-year-old. Sgt. James Washburn testified he made the request and followed the phone signals all the way to Balfour's arrest at his girlfriend's house on the 1900 block of South Spaulding.

    Once he was in custody, detectives got court orders to search the phone and access its texts and voicemails. In addition to the call details, police also recovered videos from the phone.

    Balfour was estranged from his wife, Hudson's sister, at the time of the 2008 killings. Balfour, 30, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Hudson's mother, brother and nephew.

    Balfour showed no emotion Tuesday when prosecutors showed photos of the bodies of Hudson's mother and brother. The Hudson sisters also left the courtroom for that.

    Prosecutors claim Balfour targeted the family in a horrific act of vindictiveness against his Julia Hudson. They believe he became enraged by balloons he saw at the home that he thought were from her new boyfriend.

    For their part, defense attorneys have said the killing could be connected to alleged drug dealing by the brother, Jason Hudson.

    Jennifer Hudson, the 2004 "American Idol" finalist and 2007 Oscar winner for her role in "Dreamgirls, is expected to attend the entire trial.

    Julia Hudson testified Monday that Balfour was so prone to jealousy that, when he lived in the Hudson family home before moving out in early 2008, he even became angry when Julian kissed her.

    "He'd say, 'Get off my wife,'" she said.

    Prosecutors contend Balfour went inside the Hudson family house on Chicago's South Side around 9 a.m. on Oct. 24, 2008, and shot Hudson's mother and brother. Investigators allege he then drove off in Jason Hudson's sport utility vehicle with 7-year-old Julian inside, and later shot the boy in the head as he lay behind a front seat.

    Jennifer Hudson recounted on the stand Monday how she offered reward money for Julian's safe return during a frantic three-day search before the boy was found dead in the SUV.

    "We were trying everything to get him back," Hudson said softly, tears rolling down her cheek.

    Hudson also described her sister screaming when she saw on the TV news her son's body had been found.

    With no surviving witnesses to the slayings, prosecutors must offer overwhelming circumstantial evidence that Balfour committed them.

    Wednesday's testimony included prosecutors walking a series of experts and investigators through hours of meticulous, seemingly mundane details about how cellphone records are compiled.

    Prosecutors say such records show Balfour was in the area of at the time of the killings. Balfour has said he wasn't. Prosecutors also say Balfour, who otherwise used his phone constantly, didn't make or answer his cellphone around the time of the killings.

     Julian King