Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Hudson accused appears in court

William Balfour
William Balfour was married to Jennifer Hudson's sister, Julia

The estranged brother-in-law of actress Jennifer Hudson has been indicted by a grand jury in connection with the killing of three of her relatives.

No new charges were outlined in the indictment against William Balfour, 27, who appeared in court wearing a yellow prison jumpsuit.

An indictment is a formal accusation of a serious crime, issued after a grand jury hears evidence from a prosecutor.

Balfour's lawyer maintained the police had no case against his client.

"The police believe it is William Balfour, but the problem is what they have done," said Joshia Kutnik.

"They find their suspect and build evidence around the suspect. That's not the way it should work."

He added that hard evidence linking Balfour to the crimes does not exist and that he was conducting his own investigation.

Nephew

Balfour is the estranged husband of Julia Hudson, the sister of American Idol contestant and film actress Jennifer Hudson.

Jennifer Hudson
Hudson, 27, won a best supporting actress Oscar for Dreamgirls in 2007
The entertainer's mother, 57-year-old Darnell Donerson, and brother, 29-year-old Jason Hudson were found shot dead in their Chicago home on 24 October.

The body of her nephew, seven-year-old Julian King, was found in a vehicle in the city three days later.

Balfour was arrested on 24 October and held in Chicago police custody for 48 hours - the longest a person can be held without charges.

He was then transferred to the Stateville Correctional Center in Chicago, where he was being held for a suspected parole violation, and was formally arrested in connection with the killings.

He was charged with three counts of first-degree murder earlier this month.

The grand jury indictment was required before the case could go to trial, said Andy Conklin, a spokesman for the Cook County state's attorney's office.

Balfour's mother, Michele Davis Balfour, who attended Tuesday's hearing with several family members, declined to comment.

The Hudson family have also declined to comment.



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Reward offered in Hudson mystery
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Actress's missing nephew sought
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