Jury picked for Hudson family murder trial
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN
Criminal Courts Reporteremail@example.com
April 10, 2012 2:08PM
Updated: May 12, 2012 8:14AM
A racially diverse panel of 12 jurors and six alternates has been chosen in the trial of the South Side man accused of killing three members of singer and Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Hudson’s family.
Most of the jurors — 14 — were selected Monday, and the remaining four were chosen Tuesday afternoon, including a Jesse White tumbler and a retired CTA dispatcher whose son was shot and rendered a paraplegic in 2002.
A goateed man who described himself as a “big” fan of Hudson’s, a food and lifestyles reporter from northwest Indiana and a woman who may have met defendant William Balfour’s estranged wife and Hudson’s sister, Julia, at a holiday toy drive were among those dismissed Tuesday afternoon.
Before Cook County Judge Charles Burns adjourned court, he warned those who were selected Tuesday that a potential witness in the trial may appear on television Thursday. Jennifer Hudson is expected to perform on “American Idol” that night.
Balfour, 30, is accused of killing Hudson matriarch Darnell Donerson, 57, her son, Jason Hudson, 29, and Julia Hudson’s 7-year-old son, Julian King in 2008.
Those on the jury who were summoned to court on April 23 for opening statements include:
■ Juror No. 2: A white male in his 20s from the southwest suburbs who currently works at a country club. He was a criminal justice major in college and dreamed of becoming a police officer but after two days of training for the Illinois State Police, he realized law enforcement “wasn’t for me.”
■ Juror No. 5: Young married Caucasian woman. The South Loop resident is a manager at staffing service and says she doesn’t know much about Jennifer Hudson or the triple slayings.
■ Juror No. 7: White middle-aged woman from the southwest suburbs. The married mother of three teaches junior high. Her brother is a former assistant Cook County state’s attorney.
■ Juror No. 8: Asian-American woman, possibly in her 30s or 40s. The physical therapist from the northwest suburbs said she has watched some “American Idol” episodes, in which Jennifer Hudson had appeared.
■ Juror No. 14: African-American woman, possibly in her 30s, who lives in the southwest suburbs and works as a customer service representative at a chocolate company.
■ Juror No. 16: Male, Hispanic, possible in his 20s or 30s, who works as a truck driver. The Northwest Sider has three kids and likes playing soccer.
■ Juror No. 21: Older white man from the Southwest Side who works as an insurance adjuster. His sister had her throat slashed in a violent purse-snatching incident 25 years ago but she survived.
■ Juror No. 23: Asian-American man from the Northwest Side, possibly in his 30s. The budding architect’s brother was murdered in 1998, and he was forced to leave school to help with his family. He said despite his past experiences, he can be fair.
■ Juror No. 24: Older white man from the northwest suburbs. He has worked as a high school custodian for over three decades.
■ Juror No. 29: Middle-aged African-American woman from Hyde Park. The downtown security officer’s son was murdered in 2002. She assured the judge she can be impartial even though her child was slain.
■ Juror No. 31: African-American man, possibly in his 40s. The West Side customer service representative and father of five is a former Army Sergeant, Cook County Sheriff’s officer and Illinois Department of Corrections officer.
■ Juror No. 42: African-American man, possibly in his late 30s or early 40s, from the Southeast Side. He works as a bus aide for the Chicago Public Schools.
■ Juror No. 47: Hispanic woman, possibly in her 40s. The unemployed woman lives just three blocks away from the criminal courthouse, at 26th and California. The former bank teller is looking for a medical-related job.
■ Juror No. 50: White woman, possibly in her 40s or 50s, from the southwest suburbs. The unemployed woman didn’t know much about the case until she was called in for jury duty last week. “Uh-oh,” she said she thought. When the judge told her she had been picked, some of her peers laughed and pointed at her.
■ Juror No. 52: Older African-American woman, possibly in her 50s or 60s. The mother of four is a retired dispatcher for the CTA who also worked at two area hospitals. The Southeast Sider is active at her church. Her third youngest child was shot and paralyzed in 2002. She likes reading the Bible, bowling and crossword puzzles.
■ Juror No. 56: Young African-American male, possibly in his 20s and 30s. The South Sider, who works part time at an office supply store, was a Jesse White Tumbler for 16 years and still is with the organization as a trainer. He was sentenced to community service for shooting a child in the head with a BB gun in 2001. The child was jumping on a trampoline in his backyard, and he was just trying to scare him when the BB gun went off, the man explained.
■ Juror No. 59: Middle-aged African-American woman who lives on the Near North Side and works as a courier for an air freight company. She has two children and served on a jury for a murder trial at 26th and California in the 1990s.
■ Juror No. 61: Young white female, possibly in her 20s. The North Sider is a business manager and has a master’s degree in accounting.