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Jennifer Hudson stays out of courtroom during graphic evidence

By Jason Meisner and Stacy St. Clair, Chicago Tribune –

CHICAGO — For the second day in a row, Jennifer Hudson stayed out of the courtroom as graphic images of her slain nephew were shown to jurors.

Her former brother-in-law William Balfour, on trial on charges he murdered the singer’s mother, brother and 7 year-old-nephew in an act of jealousy toward Hudson’s sister, dabbed his eyes with a tissue Wednesday as autopsy photos of 7-year-old Julian King flashed on a large screen.

As the images were shown on Wednesday, Cook County Deputy Medical Examiner Mitra Kalekar told jurors that Julian had been shot twice in the head as he lay facedown in the back of an SUV. The fatal blow entered through the back of his head and exited through the left side of his face, she said.

Julian, 7, had been taken from the Hudson family home shortly after his grandmother, Darnell Donerson, and his uncle, Jason Hudson, had been killed, prosecutors say. He was driven to Chicago’s West Side and shot there.

He was found three days later in the back of Jason Hudson’s stolen SUV. Julian, who had been off from the school that day, was covered with a shower curtain, wearing two white T-shirts, black shorts and flip flops.

Based on the boy’s slightly decomposed body, Kalekar estimated that he had been dead between 72 and 36 hours. The broad timeline is crucial to the case because Balfour was taken into custody the day of the shootings. If Julian died 72 hours before being found, Balfour could have done it. If he was killed closer to 36 hours, Balfour could not have been the shooter because he was already in custody by then.

Though Jennifer Hudson wasn’t present for the testimony, her fiance, David Otunga, sat in the gallery taking notes. In addition to being a professional wrestler, he is also a Harvard-educated lawyer from the Chicago area.

It’s not unusual for victims’ family members to stay out of the courtroom when gruesome images are being shown to the jury.

The singer returned to courtroom in the morning to hear a Chicago police officer describe how police used Balfour’s cell phone records to trace his whereabouts and activities on the day of the murders. Several jurors turned their heads away from the witness to watch Hudson take her seat.

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