Potential jurors got their first look Thursday at the man accused in the 2008 slayings of actress and singer Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew ahead of trial testimony set to begin later this month.
When Judge Charles Burns introduced the defendant, a deferential William Balfour stood, tugged nervously on his tie as he turned to face the some 150 would-be jurors, and said firmly, "Good afternoon, everybody." Many of the would-be jurors responded in unison: "Good afternoon.'"
The offbeat moment came in a Chicago courtroom just before the judge read a 300-name list of potential witnesses that includes Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson. Prosecutors allege Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson's sister, shot the family in a jealous rage because Julia Hudson was dating another man.
The 30-year-old defendant appeared in court wearing a white dress shirt, yellow tie and shiny black shoes. His hair — bushy and disheveled in previous court appearances — was newly cut short per the judge's order earlier this week.