2008’s Biggest Stories #5: Jennifer Hudson Tragedy

Coming

off winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2007, 2008 was supposed

to follow with more accolades as Jennifer Hudson made her long awaited

return to music.

 

Instead, the singer/actress, who garnered a healthy buzz for her debut album with the lead single “Spotlight,”  found herself on the receiving end of a major personal tragedy with the shooting deaths of her 57-year-old mother Darnell Donerson and 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson.

 

The

pair was found dead in their South Side Chicago home on Oct. 24. That

same day, Hudson’s seven-year-old nephew, Julian King, turned up

missing as authorities placed William Balfour, the estranged husband of

the entertainer’s sister Julia, into custody.

 

At

the time, Balfour was not charged in the slayings, but remained in

custody as a “person of interest.” As police continued investigating

the crime, the murders triggered immediate reaction from the public as

gifts and well wishes were left on the fence at the home where the

Jason Hudson and Roberson were killed.

 

Jennifer

Hudson spoke out for the first time since the tragedy via a posting on

her MySpace blog on Oct. 26. The singer/actress thanked her fans as she

urged them to help authorities find Julian.

Jennifer

Hudson’s statement came one day after Julia Hudson, Julian’s mother,

issued an emotional plea for her son’s safe return. Julia’s

worst fear came became reality on Oct. 27 as police confirmed that they

found Julian’s body, which was discovered inside a white Chevy Suburban

owned by Jason Hudson. Despite untrue rumors of Julian’s hand being

severed, the seven-year-old died after he was shot in the head.

 

Balfour,

who maintained a tense relationship with detectives by refusing to take

a lie detector test and cooperate with the investigation, was arrested and formally charged with three counts of murder in the slayings earlier this month.

 

In

November, police verified that the Sig Sauer .45 caliber they recovered

by police was indeed the weapon was used to murder Donerson, Jason

Hudson and King. Jennifer Hudson paid her final respects to the slain

family members at a private funeral service on Nov. 3.

 

Since

the tragedy, the entertainer has kept a low profile. Hudson, who

recently nabbed four Grammy nominations, recently came out of seclusion

to begin filming the video for “If It Isn’t Love,” the second single

from her self-titled debut album, which was released in September.

 

As

the case continues to evolve, prosecutors allege that Balfour murdered

Donerson, Jason Hudson and King when he became jealous of a 31st

birthday gift Julia Hudson received from what believed to be another

man. No matter what, all eyes will be on Jennifer Hudson as she works

to bounce back from tragic loss of her relatives. 

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