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Trial begins in slaying of Hudson family members

FILE - This undated file photo provided April 6, 2012 by the Cook County Sheriff's Department shows William Balfour who is charged in the murders of the mother, brother and nephew of Oscar winner and singer Jennifer Hudson. On Monday, April 23, 2012, opening statements begin in Balfour's trial. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)FILE - This undated file photo provided April 6, 2012 by the Cook County Sheriff's Department shows William Balfour who is charged in the murders of the mother, brother and nephew of Oscar winner and singer Jennifer Hudson. On Monday, April 23, 2012, opening statements begin in Balfour's trial. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

CHICAGO (AP) — A prosecutor says the man charged with murdering Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew began threatening the family shortly after he left the family home in 2008.

William Balfour's defense team arrives at the Cook County Courthouse on the first day of the murder trial of Balfour, in Chicago, Monday, April 23, 2012. Balfour is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the Oct. 24, 2008, slayings Oscar winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)William Balfour's defense team arrives at the Cook County Courthouse on the first day of the murder trial of Balfour, in Chicago, Monday, April 23, 2012. Balfour is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the Oct. 24, 2008, slayings Oscar winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

The prosecutor said during opening statements in William Balfour's murder trial Monday that he was not making idle threats against his estranged wife's family members.

FILE - In a Jan. 17, 2012 file photo, Oscar and Grammy winning performer Jennifer Hudson answers questions from a reporter as she celebrates the release of her memoir, "I Got This," at a book signing in Chicago. On Monday, April 23, 2012, opening statements begin in Chicago for William Balfour, charged in the killings of Hudson's mother, brother and nephew in 2008. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)FILE - In a Jan. 17, 2012 file photo, Oscar and Grammy winning performer Jennifer Hudson answers questions from a reporter as she celebrates the release of her memoir, "I Got This," at a book signing in Chicago. On Monday, April 23, 2012, opening statements begin in Chicago for William Balfour, charged in the killings of Hudson's mother, brother and nephew in 2008. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Hudson was in the courthouse but a court spokesman says she would not be present for opening statements.

Balfour has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in the October 2008 slayings.

Prosecutors say he became enraged that Hudson's sister, his estranged wife, had begun dating someone else.