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14 jurors picked in Hudson family murder case

FILE - In this Sept. 27 2011 file phosinger Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudsspeaks Chicago. On Monday April 9 2012 judge

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2011 file photo, singer and Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson speaks in Chicago. On Monday, April 9, 2012, a judge will question potential jurors as jury selection begins in earnest at the Chicago trial of William Balfour, the man accused of murdering Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in 2008. Testimony begins April 23. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

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Updated: May 11, 2012 8:09AM



Seven men and seven women, including an architecture student whose brother was slain and a woman whose son was murdered, were selected Monday to serve on the jury of the man accused of gunning down singer and actress Jennifer Hudson’s family members.

At least one woman picked to weigh in on William Balfour’s fate told Cook County Circuit Judge Charles Burns she was not familiar with Hudson and the fatal 2008 shootings.

“If I did see her, I wouldn’t know who she was,” the South Loop resident said.

Balfour, 30, who wore a blue dress shirt, slacks and a tie, watched attentively as nearly 50 potential jurors were questioned by his attorneys, prosecutors and Burns during a nine-hour selection process.

A young suburban mother of two children, ages 4 and 6, choked up, telling the judge the murders of Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, brother, Jason Hudson, 29, and 7-year-old nephew, Julian, was particularly upsetting, “especially because I’m a mom.” She was not selected.

Another woman who was eliminated copped to being a big fan of Jennifer Hudson’s.

“I am a fan of Jennifer Hudson and I feel bad for what she went through,” the woman said.

The two jurors who had relatives murdered assured Burns that they could be fair despite their tragic experiences.

An Asian-American man told the judge and lawyers that he had to leave school and help support his family after his brother was murdered in the Chicago area in 1998. He vowed, “If I am selected, I will do my best” while an older African-American woman whose son was murdered in 2002 insisted, “I know I can” be impartial.

But another middle-aged woman from the northwest suburbs whose nephew was recently convicted of murdering his pregnant wife was not sure she could listen to grisly details about the triple slayings.

“It’s way too close to home. I see things differently now,” the widowed woman said. “It’s just that there was a child involved, and I can’t get past that.”

A retiree from the southwest suburbs said he was sick of all the “shootings and killings” in Cook County, but said if he was selected on the jury and ended up missing a family reunion for his dying mother in the spring, it would “affect his attitude.” He was excused.

Others selected to serve on the jury include: a former Illinois Department of Corrections officer, a country club employee who was a criminal justice major in college, a truck driver, and an unemployed woman who lives three blocks away from the Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California.

Balfour, Hudson’s sister’s estranged husband, killed the victims in a jealous rage after Julia Hudson revealed she might be getting serious with another man, prosecutors said.

Before Donerson and Jason Hudson’s bullet-riddled bodies were found in their Englewood home on Oct. 24, 2008, Balfour allegedly told Julia Hudson he would kill her family. Julian, Julia’s son, was found dead in Jason Hudson’s stolen SUV on the West Side three days later.

Jury selection will continue Tuesday until a total of 12 jurors and six alternates are selected.

The trial is expected to start on April 23.



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