Jury reaches verdict in Hudson family slayings
FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2012 file photo, singer and actress Jennifer Hudson attends a book signing in New York. On Wednesday, May 9, 2012, closing arguments are taking place at the Chicago murder trial for William Balfour, Hudson's ex-brother-in-law who is accused of killing her mother, brother and nephew in October 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, File)
CHICAGO (AP) — Jurors have reached a verdict in the trial of the man charged with murdering three of Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson's family members, Chicago court officials announced Friday afternoon.
The verdict is scheduled to be read at 4:30 p.m. CDT. Jurors deliberated for three days in the case of Hudson's former brother-in-law, William Balfour. He's charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the October 2008 shooting deaths of Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.
Hudson was the first witness called and has attended every day of testimony in the trial. She is expected to be on hand when the verdict is read.
Amy Thompson, second from right, defense attorney for William Balfour, and her team return from hearing a question from the jury during deliberations at Cook County Criminal Court, Friday, May 11, 2012, in Chicago. Balfour, is charged in the 2008 murder of Oscar and Grammy winning performer Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Balfour would face a mandatory life prison sentence if convicted on all counts.
Prosecutors say he killed the three victims in a jealous rage after his then-estranged wife, Hudson's sister Julia Hudson, refused to reconcile with him. Defense attorneys argued the evidence tying Balfour to the October 2008 killings is circumstantial.
The announcement about the verdict came after jurors sent the judge a note saying they were split on the verdict. The jury did not say it was giving up, though.
"We are trying," jurors said in their note.
With no surviving witnesses to the Oct. 24, 2008, slayings, prosecutors built a circumstantial case against Balfour by calling 83 witnesses over 11 days of testimony. Witnesses said he threatened to kill the entire family if Julia Hudson spurned him.