The first day of the Jennifer Hudson family murder trial was filled with heavy emotions and testimony, as prosecutors played the 911 recordings of Julia Hudson discovering the dead bodies of her mother, son and brother.
Jennifer Hudson sat quietly in court weeping as the 911 tapes played, listening to her sister screaming in agony as the dispatcher told a sobbing Julia to stop yelling because he could not understand her. She was crying for help and saying, "My mama, mama."
Julia painted a picture of William Balfour as a jealous-hearted man who repeatedly made threats against her family.
Jennifer described that the family did not want Julia to marry Balfour in the first place:
"None of us wanted her to marry him. I would tell her over and over again not to marry William. We didn't like the way he treated her," she said.
Balfour grew up in the same Englewood, Chicago neighborhood as the Hudsons and attended the same grade school as Jennifer.
When asked if she liked Balfour, Jennifer Hudson said, "Never. Not even in grammar school."
Balfour is on trial for shooting Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson; brother Jason Hudson; and her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King on Oct. 24, 2008.
As there were no surviving witnesses to the murders, prosecutors will introduce evidence in the next few days that includes cell phone records and security-camera footage that place Balfour in the area of the killings, since he denies he was there.
Another challenge will be tying Balfour to the alleged murder weapon, a silver and black .45-calibre handgun that sat Monday on a stack of papers at the prosecution table in plain view of jurors and Hudson.
Prosecutors believe Balfour went inside the three-story house around 9 a.m., shot Hudson's mother in the living room, then shot her brother, Jason Hudson, twice in the head as he lay in bed.
Investigators allege Balfour then drove off in Jason's sport utility vehicle with 7-year-old Julian inside, and later shot the boy in the head as he lay behind the front seat.
If convicted of at least two of the murder counts, Balfour would face a mandatory life sentence.
Testimony will resume today.
For more on the Hudson family murder trial, please join our Praying for Jennifer Hudson Facebook page.