Balfour Girlfriend Says He Confessed to Killing Hudson Family Members

Damning testimony wraps up first week of proceedings in high-profile murder trial

By Charlie Wojciechowski, Glenn Marshall and Michelle Relerford
|  Friday, Apr 27, 2012  |  Updated 7:55 PM EDT
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The first week of proceedings in the Jennifer Hudson family murder trial ends with damning testimony. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.

The first week of proceedings in the Jennifer Hudson family murder trial ends with damning testimony. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.

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The man accused with killing three of Jennifer Hudson's family members confessed to a girlfriend about the crimes, she testified Friday.

Shonta Cathey told jurors that William Balfour admitted to her that he shot Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, and her brother, Jason Hudson.

"I was so scared and I wanted to do everything he wanted so he wouldn't hurt us," she told the court. "I was in love with William and I didn't want anything to happen to him."

Balfour, 30, has pleaded not guilty to the slayings of Donerson, Jason Hudson, and Jennifer Hudson's nephew, Julian King.

Earlier, an FBI agent testified that analysis of Balfour's cell phone placed him near the Hudson home around the time of the murders. Special Agent Nikki Skovran testified she was called to analyze Balfour's phone usage on Oct. 24, 2008, from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. Skovran said the analysis places Balfour near the Hudson home around the time of the murders in addition to placing him at his girlfriend Diane Grant's home beforehand and at Cathy's home in the afternoon.

Cathy's neighbor, 71-year-old retiree Billy Graham, also testified he saw Balfour driving a white SUV on the day of the murders. Jason Hudson drove a white SUV that was stolen after he was killed.

Friday was the fifth day of testimony in which prosecutors continued their case to prove Balfour had a reason and a weapon to kill Hudson's mother, brother and young nephew.

Before the trial, testimony was briefly delayed so the judge could address an emergency motion regarding members of the media requesting access to the 911 tapes played during the trial. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Charles Burns plans to rule on that motion Monday morning on whether or not to release the tapes.

During Day 4 of the trial, a jury heard some of the most damaging testimony against Balfour. The prosecution called to the stand three witnesses who helped tie Balfour to the gun used in the murders. Jurors also heard from a witness how Balfour "went on a rant" and repeatedly threatened to harm the Hudson family.

The trial on Wednesday focused on King's 2008 abduction and murder. The singer-actress and her sister left the courtroom before graphic testimony described the boy's murder.

Police said the boy was shot twice in the head inside a white SUV stolen from the Hudson family home in Englewood. Graphic photos showed bullet holes through the top of Julian's head and his white T-shirt drenched in blood.

Balfour appeared to tear up as the photographs were shown depicting how the little boy died.

The forensic pathologist who examined Julian's body described how the boy died. Mikitra Kaleka said he likely was killed the same day as Donnerson and Jason Hudson.

On Tuesday, the prosecution called officials to the stand who described how they found the bodies of Donerson and Jason Hudson. The actress and her sister left the courtroom when photographs were shown.

Jennifer Hudson, the prosecution's star witness, was the first person to take the stand as the trial started Monday.

It's not clear how much longer the prosecution's case could last. The judge has said the trial could last up to a month. 

FBI Special Agent Nikki Skovran testified she was called to analyze Balfour's phone usage on Oct. 24, 2008, from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. Skovran said the analysis places Balfour near the Hudson home around the time of the murders.

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