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Divorce confirmed as Hudsons' family tragedy played out in court

The story has made headlines for many reasons. A Chicago-area woman, the older sister of Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, obtained a divorce from her estranged husband in December 2011. He is currently on trial on charges of murdering her mother, her brother and her 7-year-old son.

The couple eloped in December 2006, right after he was released from prison. He had been serving a sentence for a charge of attempted murder; he was convicted of the crime when he was just 17. A few months after the wedding, Hudson won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for "Dreamgirls."

On October 24, 2008, less than two years later, the sisters' 57-year-old mother and 29-year-old brother were discovered shot to death in the Chicago home shared by mother and daughter. The boy was missing. Several days later, officers discovered his body in a car; he, too, had been shot to death. Ultimately, the husband was charged.

According to news sources, the couple's relationship had been rocky from the start. He had started seeing other women, one in particular, and shortly before the murders she asked for a divorce. During the separation, she started dating someone new.

Prosecutors believe the defendant visited his estranged wife's family home and became enraged when he saw a balloon bouquet. He assumed it was from his wife's new boyfriend. He shot the older woman and his brother-in-law and left with the boy in his brother-in-law's SUV. Later, he shot the boy, too.

Hudson's sister filed for divorce when the defendant was in jail. Although he is represented by an attorney for the criminal matter, he wrote to the court that he did not have legal representation for the divorce. He wrote, too, that he did not object to the divorce and explained the delay in sending his response to the petition.

The trial will continue this week. The prosecution will continue to paint a picture for the jury of marital problems that went terribly wrong.

Source: Huffington Post, "William Balfour Confessed To Killing Jennifer Hudson's Family, Suspect's Mistress Claims," Associated Press, April 28, 2012

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