The jury pool is being selected for the upcoming trial of William “Flex” Balfour, 30, indicted for the murders of Jennifer Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29, who were found shot to death in the family’s home on Oct. 24, 2008. Hudson and fans prayed for the safe return of her beloved nephew, Julian King, but he was found shot to death several days later, miles away from the family home.
Prosecutors allege Balfour committed the murders in a fit of jealousy because Hudson’s sister, his estranged wife, was dating another man.
The trial will be an emotional one for the singer-actress, as she grew up with the murder suspect in Englewood, a working-class neighborhood that was also the childhood home of Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose.
The jury pool selection will be a tough process as defense and prosecutors are looking for 12 individuals who will not be swayed by Hudson’s megawatt star power. Prominent defense attorney Gerry Spence, who boasts he has not lost a case since 1969, says that celebrities form an emotional bond with people and jurors may feel protective about Hudson.
There could be “a subconscious sense, that they have attacked somebody in [the juror’s] family,” said Spence. “And they think, ‘[He] shot Jennifer’s [mother, brother and nephew] and I’m going to get him.’”