10:54 AM EDT, April 24, 2012
Jennifer Hudson and her sister Julia took the stand Monday, the first day in the trial of William Balfour, the man accused of killing Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.
During Jennifer Hudson's testimony, which only lasted about 10 minutes, she talked about the last time she saw her family. She described, in tears, how the whole family -- her mother, brother, sister, nephew and their dog "Dreamgirl" -- gathered at her house in Chicago. She said it was the first time they came together at her house.
While crying she said of the visit, "It was the last time I saw them...thank God."
Hudson also said that they entire family did not want her sister Julia to marry Balfour: "I told her over and over again not to marry William. My mother, brother and myself -- we didn't like how he treated her; I didn't like how he treated my nephew."
The defense asked Hudson if she liked William Balfour, and she replied, "Never, not even in grammar school."
"I tried to keep my distance from William Balfour; where he was, I tried not to be," Hudson said.
After a lunch break, Jennifer Hudson's sister Julia took the stand. She described Balfour as a very jealous husband. She testified that he would get angry even when her son Julian King tried to give her a kiss or hug. She said the marriage began to deteriorate within two months.
Julia Hudson also testified said that after she and Balfour separated in Feb 2008, he repeatedly tried to get her back, but she refused. During one of their conversations, Balfour told Hudson, "If you leave me, you'll be the last to die; I'll kill your family first."
Julia Hudson said Balfour threatened to killer her 25 times.
Balfour Trial: Background on the case, opening statements
William Balfour is charged with murdering three members of the Hudson family in October 2008. All the victims -- Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson, brother Jason Hudson, and 7-year-old nephew Julian King -- were shot.
Donerson's and Jason Hudson's bodies were found in the family's home at 70th and South Yale in Englewood. Police found Julian King's body days later inside an SUV on the West Side. They found a gun in bushes nearby which investigators think was the murder weapon.
Balfour trial began shortly after 11 a.m. Monday at Cook County Criminal Court at 26th and California, and is expected to last about a month.
Prosecutors say Balfour did it because he was jealous that Julia Hudson had a new boyfriend.
Meanwhile, Balfour's attorneys started laying the groundwork Monday for their client's defense. They say there is no fingerprints, DNA or other scientific evidence linking him to the crime scene.
Plus, the defense says the alleged murder weapon, a .45 caliber pistol, actually belonged to Jennifer Hudson's slain brother Jason, a known drug dealer in the area. They say many people had keys to his house and access to the gun.
William Balfour has a criminal record that includes arrests for attempted murder, carjacking and receiving stolen property. He has served seven years in prison. He faces a life sentence if convicted in this case.