Updated: Timeline in the murders of Jennifer Hudson family members
May 2008--William Balfour, the husband of Jennifer Hudson’s sister Julia, moves out of Hudson family home in the 7900 block of South Yale Avenue.
June 2008--Balfour, on parole for a 1999 attempted murder conviction, is arrested on a charge of possession of cocaine. Balfour was stopped after he got out of a vehicle that had turned a corner at high speed in an area where police were investigating calls of shots fired. Police said they found drugs in the car Balfour was driving.
The Illinois Department of Corrections is contacted about the new drug charges because Balfour was on parole, but the agency decides not to return him to prison.
July 16--The drug case against Balfour is dropped after Cook County Circuit Judge David Skryd found police had no probable cause to arrest Balfour.
Undetermined date--Jason Hudson, Jennifer’s brother, is shot in the leg in Gary, but refuses to seek medical attention, according to friends and family members. The wound limits his mobility and forces him to use a cane to walk.
FRIDAY, Oct. 24
7 a.m.--Balfour drives his teal Chrysler to the Hudsons’ block, arriving about 7 a.m., according to witnesses.
9 a.m.--Neighbors hear gunshots, but do not notify police.
Undetermined time--An early report said there were no signs of forced entry to the home, but law enforcement sources later said the shootings began with the gunman firing through a door and striking Hudson’s brother, Jason, 29. The shooter then entered the house and continued to fire, hitting Hudson’s mother when she entered the room.
12:30 p.m.--The teal Chrysler is parked near Robeson High School, about a mile from the Hudson home. Security video from the school showed someone parking the Chrysler, but investigators have not been able to determine the person’s identity, sources said. A time stamp on the video showed the car was left there at 12:30 p.m., but it was unclear whether the stamp was accurate.
Cell phone records placed Balfour on the West Side at that hour, sources said. If the time stamp at the school is accurate, it would suggest another person may have driven the Chrysler from the Hudson home to Robeson. In any event, Balfour did not use his own car to travel from the Hudson’s Englewood house to his girlfriend’s home near 19th Street and Spaulding Avenue on the West Side, police said.
Unknown time--Balfour misses a meeting with his parole officer, the Associated Press reported.
3 p.m.--A relative finds the body of Jennifer Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, shot to death in her living room. The relative notifies authorities, who then find the body of Jennifer’s brother, Jason Hudson, 29, shot to death in a bedroom. There is no sign of Julian King, the 7-year-old son of Jennifer’s sister, Julia.
Unknown time--Reached by phone by his parole agent, Balfour says he is “baby-sitting on the West Side.” The agent thinks he hears a child in the background, the Associated Press reported.
About 6 p.m.--Authorities issue an Amber Alert for both Julian and Balfour, his stepfather.
About 6 p.m.--Police arrest Balfour at his pregnant girlfriend’s West Side apartment, but the boy is not with him.
Later--Balfour’s girlfriend tells police that he was at her West Side home not long after the slayings.
Evening--Officers question Balfour, but he stops talking when police suggest he take a polygraph, law-enforcement sources said. Balfour’s girlfriend contradicts his alibi and tells police he was involved in the killings of the two adults, but not that of the boy, law-enforcement sources said.
SATURDAY, Oct. 25
1:30 a.m.--Jennifer Hudson identifies the bodies of her brother and mother at the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Morning--The FBI is called in to help.
Police say the teal vehicle has been located but continue to search for the white Suburban.
Afternoon--Police searched the house again Saturday afternoon in case Julian is hiding inside. Shell casings are recovered from the scene.
5 p.m.--Relatives of the missing boy make a public plea for his return.
SUNDAY, Oct. 26
Officials transfer Balfour to Stateville Correctional Center.
MONDAY, Oct. 27
Julian’s body is discovered in the back of Jason Hudson’s Chevrolet Suburban, parked in the 1300 block of South Kolin Avenue on the West Side. A tiny Chihuahua named Li’l Man had howled and barked at the unfamiliar white SUV parked there. The dog’s reaction drew the attention of its owner, John Louden, who realized it matched the SUV police had been looking for since Friday. It remains unclear if police had canvassed the block, but some neighbors say they had seen the SUV since Friday. No one called police before Monday.
Julian’s body was slumped over in the back seat of the Suburban. He had been shot in the head. A bullet found lodged in the vehicle, along with other evidence, led detectives to believe he had been shot in the vehicle. Police don’t know precisely when he was killed.
TUESDAY, Oct. 28
As detectives continued searching for answers, the Cook County medical examiner’s office releases autopsy results showing Julian King died of multiple gunshot wounds.
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29
Police find a handgun matching the caliber of weapon used in the slayings, providing a potential break in the case. The type and make of ammunition also matched shell casings recovered at the scene.
The gun was found in an alley just a block from the spot in North Lawndale where Julian’s body had been found. A few other “small bits of evidence,” are also recovered next to the gun, which was nestled in thick shrubs in a vacant lot in the 1400 block of South Kolin Avenue.
FRIDAY, Oct. 31
Forensic testing shows that the chrome-and-black .45-caliber Sig Sauer semiautomatic pistol recovered by Chicago police was the weapon used to kill all three victims.
Police are investigating whether the weapon had once belonged to Hudson’s slain brother, Jason. He once owned an identical gun that he thought had been stolen from the family’s Englewood home a few months earlier, according to law-enforcement sources and several neighbors.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had traced the recovered gun to its original owner in Michigan, who had reported it stolen, sources said.
While police have investigated the slayings as possible domestic violence, they have not ruled out other motives. Neither Balfour nor anyone else has been charged, but Balfour remains in custody.
Monday, Nov. 10
The Illinois Prisoner Review Board rules that there is reason to believe that Balfour, 27, violated his parole in another matter for several reasons, including being in places where drugs were sold. In addition, the board cited a statement from his girlfriend that she saw him with a gun that matched the murder weapon.
Dec. 1, 2008
William Baflour is arrested and charged with three homicides.
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