30-minute defence at Hudson trial

2012-05-09 12:11
Chicago - The man accused of killing three of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson's relatives did not take the stand, and his attorneys presented a mere 30-minute defence on Tuesday, calling two detectives in a bid to suggest they botched the 2008 investigation.

The brief defence followed a two-week presentation by prosecutors, who called more than 80 witnesses, including Hudson herself, as they sought to prove William Balfour shot the star's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in a fit of jealous rage.

Balfour, 30, is Hudson's former brother-in-law.

The actress and singer was in court on Tuesday as she has been every day since testimony began in April.

Hudson was the first witness called in the trial, testifying about the last time she saw her family and her dislike of Balfour.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case earlier on Tuesday after showing pictures of Hudson's nephew, Julian King, who was found in an SUV, shot in the head. Police found his body covered by a shower curtain and surrounded by shell casings, officers testified.

Both detectives called by the defence testified earlier for the prosecution.

Defence attorney Cynthia Brown pressed one detective about a 2008 report in which he wrote that a witness saw the SUV in which King's body was found at about 18:00 on the day after the murders.

The detective had testified the witness saw the vehicle at about 06:00. The officer said he made a mistake in the original report.

'Rushed to pin murders on Balfour'

The defence may use that admission, and other alleged errors, to bolster its claim that police rushed to pin the murders on Balfour because of intense media coverage spurred by Hudson's stardom.

Judge Charles Burns said closing arguments would begin on Wednesday, after which jurors will begin deliberating.

Balfour has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder. If convicted on all counts, he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Before the defence called its first witness, Burns asked whether Balfour planned to testify, and attorney Amy Thompson told the judge he "determined he does not wish to testify."

Judges typically instruct juries not to hold it against defendants if they choose not to testify, and Burns will likely do that before jurors start their deliberations on Wednesday.

Balfour and Julia Hudson were estranged but not yet divorced when the shootings occurred, and prosecution witnesses testified that he threatened to kill the Hudson family dozens of times if Julia Hudson refused to reconcile with him.