CHICAGO – A murder indictment was issued Tuesday against the man charged with killing the mother, brother and nephew of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson.
William Balfour had already been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, but a grand jury must indict a defendant before the case can go to trial, said Andy Conklin, a spokesman for the Cook County state's attorney's office.
No new details or charges were outlined in the indictment against Balfour, who faces first-degree murder and home invasion charges. The 27-year-old appeared briefly in court wearing a yellow prison jumpsuit and handcuffs but did not speak.
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Defense attorney Joshua Kutnick asked the judge whether Balfour could be moved to the Cook County jail from a state facility in Joliet to make it easier to communicate with his client. The judge put off ruling on that decision until Jan. 20.
Balfour is the estranged husband of Julia Hudson, the sister of singer and actress Jennifer Hudson. He has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of the entertainer's mother, Darnell Donerson; her brother, Jason Hudson; and her 7-year-old nephew and Balfour's stepson, Julian King.
Balfour has been in custody at the Stateville Correctional Center since shortly after the bodies of Donerson and Jason Hudson were discovered Oct. 24 at the family's South Side home. King's body was found three days later in an SUV on the city's West Side. All three had been shot.
Balfour was arrested the day of the killings and held in Chicago police custody for 48 hours — the longest a person can be held without charges — before his transfer to state custody on what authorities said was a parole violation. He was charged with murder earlier this month.
Tuesday's indictment was expected, Kutnick said. He said that hard evidence linking Balfour to the crimes does not exist and that he was conducting his own investigation.
"The police believe it is William Balfour, but the problem is what they have done. They find their suspect and build evidence around the suspect. That's not the way it should work. They should gather evidence and it should lead to a suspect," Kutnick said. "This was the convenient person to go to. It is bolstered by the fact that it took them so long to get him arrested and charged."
Balfour's mother, Michele Davis Balfour, who attended Tuesday's hearing with several family members, declined to comment.
Balfour has not had contact with the Hudson family, Kutnick said.
Members of the Hudson family did not attend the hearing. A publicist for Jennifer Hudson declined to comment. Both Julia and Jennifer Hudson have kept a low profile since the killings.
Jennifer Hudson, who was a finalist in the 2004 season of "American Idol," won her Oscar in 2007 for her supporting role in the movie "Dreamgirls."