Two weeks of expert witnesses, grisly crime-scene photos and tearful testimony by Jennifer Hudson culminates Wednesday in closing arguments at the trial of the man accused of killing three of the Oscar-winner’s relatives.
The prosecution is likely to argue that overwhelming circumstantial evidence presented by 83 witnesses during their 11-day case proves Hudson’s former brother-in-law, William Balfour, killed the star’s mother, brother, and 7-year-old nephew.
The defense – which began and then closed their case Tuesday after a mere 30 minutes – is expected to note that no witnesses tied Balfour directly to the killings and that prosecutors haven’t met their burden of proving Balfour was the killer.
The defense theorized in their opening that Hudson’s brother’s alleged crack-cocaine dealing might have led to the killings. They offered no testimony to support that theory but could still try to argue that it is a credible alternative explanation for the slayings.
After the closings, jurors will withdraw to a back room at the 80-year-old courthouse to begin deliberating on a verdict.
Public defender Amy Thompson is expected to deliver the closing for the defense and lead prosecutor James McKay for the state. The fiery attorneys often clashed at pretrial hearings and showed flashes of anger toward each other during the trial.
As she was every day during testimony, Hudson was expected in court for the closings. Wearing a beige blouse, pants and high heels, she looked more relaxed Tuesday than usual – even smiling once as a prosecutor cross-examined one witness.
Hudson was the first witness called last month, sometimes tearing up as she told jurors about the last time she saw her three family members alive. The actress and singer also spoke endearingly of her nephew, Jason King, who she said she called Tugga Bear.
The defense called just two witnesses in their brief presentation to jurors – both of them detectives who had testified earlier for prosecutors – in a bid to suggest investigators botched the triple-homicide investigation.