Day 1 Deliberations in Hudson Trial End Without Verdict

Jurors combed through evidence for more than four hours after a full day of closing arguments and instructions from Judge Charles Burns

By Charlie Wojciechowski, Lauren Petty and Glenn Marshall
|  Wednesday, May 9, 2012  |  Updated 9:02 PM PDT
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Following several hours of closing arguments and instructions, the jury hearing the case against William Balfour began deliberations on Wednesday evening. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.

Following several hours of closing arguments and instructions, the jury hearing the case against William Balfour began deliberations on Wednesday evening. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.

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Deliberating jurors at the trial of the man accused of killing Jennifer Hudson's family members were sequestered Wednesday night following a full evening of discussions but no verdict.

Jurors combed through evidence for more than four hours after a full day of closing arguments and instructions from Judge Charles Burns.

Earlier in the evening, the jurors notified the judge that they had two questions:

1. Can we see the transcripts?

The judge responded: "What transcripts do you want to see?"

2. Were there keys to 7019 S. Yale on [the defendant's] keyring?

The judge responded: "You have all the evidence. Go back and deliberate."

The home on South Yale Avenue in Chicago is where the Oscar-winning actress' mother, Darnell Donerson, and her brother, Jason Hudson, were found shot to death. The body of Hudson's nephew, Julian King, was found in an SUV three days later.

William Balfour, 30, has pleaded not guilty to the slayings.

During closing arguments, prosecutors told jurors that Balfour was in a jealous rage the day
of the murders.

State's Attorney Jennifer Bagby said Balfour was fueled by his obsession and jealousy to catch his ex-wife, Julia, with another man. The Sweetest Day balloons Balfour noticed at the Hudson home on Oct. 24, 2008, were proof another man was in his ex-wife's life, she said.

"Today it is time to hold him responsible for his actions," Bagby told jurors in front of a packed courtroom.

Bagby said that in Balfour's mind, Julia Hudson was his wife and if he couldn't have here, no one could.

Prosecutors said he threatened Julia Hudson, telling her, "If you leave me I'll kill you. I'll kill your family first, then I'll kill you." There is both physical and circumstantial evidence, Bagby said, to convict Balfour of the murders.

Jennifer Hudson, sitting with her fiancé and her sister, was seen crying in court as she listened again to the details of her family's deaths.

As the prosecution closed, Hudson buried her face into her fiancé's shoulder.

Balfour's attorneys pointed out in their closing arguments that Balfour's DNA is not on the suspected murder weapon and there are no fingerprints that point to him being involved.

"The one constant in this case is that every piece of DNA evidence absolutely excludes William Balfour," said attorney Amy Thompson. "They took his car, the green Chrysler, there was not one bit of blood evidence in it."

Thompson said the police didn't fingerprint the doorknob at the Hudson home and Baflour's cell phone signal wasn't found near the address where Jason Hudson's SUV was found.

She said Balfour and Julia Hudson talked a lot and continued to have sex after he threatened her.

"She wasn't threatened by William Balfour, and she didn't behave like she was."

In the past two weeks prosecutors called 83 witnesses, but it was their final witness that provided the direct link between suspect William Balfour and the murder scene.

A detective testified Tuesday that when Balfour was arrested, he had the keys to Jason Hudson's GMC Suburban. The vehicle was stolen from the Hudson family home and found days later with King's body inside.

Once the prosecution rested Tuesday, the defense began. It lasted 20 minutes with only two witnesses. Balfour didn't take the stand in his own defense.

A recap of trial coverage so far:

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