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Prosecutors show photos of Hudson's slain nephew

Hudon_HalfBro.jpg

April 24: Lonnie Simpson, half-brother of singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, leaves the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago after testifying on the second day of the trial of William Balfour.AP

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 — 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.

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.

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.

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Follow Michael Tarm at www.twitter.com/mtarm

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