It’s taken over 3 years for the man responsible for the death Jennifer Hudson‘s family to have his day in court but, it seems, heer super stardom may negatively affect the case before it begins.
ABC news reports, On Monday a Chicago court will begin whittling down a pool of 150 potential jurors in the trial of William Balfour, accused of brutally murdering the star’s mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew. Judge Charles Burns plans to begin questioning prospective jurors one by one.
Prosecutors allege that Balfour, the estranged husband of the actress’ sister Julia Hudson, shot the three in cold blood after he learned that his wife was dating another man. Balfour was charged with three counts of first degree murder and one count of home invasion in December 2010; at the time he was on parole after he’d spent nearly seven years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and possession of a stolen vehicle.
Jennifer Hudson, 30, is expected to attend the trial every day, and her name appears on a list of 300 potential witnesses that could be called to testify. Attorneys selecting members of the 12 person jury are tasked with identifying jurors that are able to set aside their associations with the star and focus on the facts of the trial.
“All attention usually is on the celebrity sitting in the courtroom, and that’s the biggest challenge … to try to shift the focus from the celebrity observer to the action on the witness stand,” Criminal Defense Attorney Dana Cole told ABC News.
A court questionnaire includes nine questions quizzing potential jurors on what they know about Hudson, who was not at home when Balfour allegedly killed her family. Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29, were found shot to death in the family’s home on Oct. 24, 2008. The body of Julian King, the singer’s nephew, was found days later and miles away in a car after an AMBER Alert was issued.
Questions asked of potential jurors include whether or not they had seen the actress in the Academy Award-winning film “Dreamgirls,” and if they belonged to any organizations that Hudson represents; the singer-actress has been the spokesman for Weight Watchers since April 2010.
Although there is supporting evidence of Balfour’s involvement in the case, his attorneys will likely argue that these are just circumstantial evidence and aren’t concrete facts.
The problem here is the belief Jennifer’s fame will further complicate the trial. Prosecutors are likely trying to cast out any chance of a mistrial by the misconduct of any jurors while Balfour’s defense attorneys are hoping her fame and mass media coverage will not influence the mind of jurors.
Although cameras will not be allowed inside the courtroom, it is likely that paparazzi will flood the scene.
I strongly doubt Jennifer’s fame will affect this trial in anyway. Balfour has long been the main, and perhaps, the only suspect in this case. It’s long been assumed that he’s guilty and will be found guilty by the jurors. The gun residue found on the staring wheel of his vehicle is pretty damning evidence. As for how the tables will turn in this trial, we’ll just have to wait and see how the case unfolds.
(Source: ABC News/Photo: MTV.com)