William Balfour, the man convicted in May of slaying the mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew of singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, was sentenced Tuesday to three consecutive life sentences for the murders plus an additional 120 years for his convictions on charges of home invasion, aggravated kidnapping and possession of a stolen vehicle.
During the sentencing hearing, Balfour addressed the court for the first time since his 2008 arrest and offered condolences to the youngest victim, who was Balfour’s stepson, while also maintaining his innocence.
“My deepest sympathies go to Julian King,” he said. “I loved him. I still love him. I’m innocent your honor.”
Judge Charles Burns was not moved by Balfour’s gesture, calling his claim to still love Julian “an insult.”
“You have the heart of an arctic night,” an emotional Burns told Balfour as he handed down his sentence, according to The Chicago Tribune. “Your soul is as barren as dark space.”
“[Julian] shared his life with you. For sure he looked up to you,” Burns also said. “There is no doubt in my mind he looked up to you as you were putting bullets into his head. I just hope his terror was short-lived.”
Balfour was convicted of fatally shooting Hudson’s 57-year-old mother Darnell Donerson and 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson in the Hudson family’s home in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, and of killing Julian King shortly thereafter as the child cowered in fear in the back seat of Jason Hudson’s stolen SUV. Prosecutors believe Balfour acted in a fit of rage caused by his failed marriage to Jennifer Hudson’s sister Julia and the fact that she was seeing another man.
The Academy Award-winning actress did not speak to the media after the sentencing, nor did lawyers from either side of the case.
Under Illinois law, a life sentence without the possibility of parole was mandatory because Balfour had been convicted of more than one murder. Illinois does not have the death penalty.
Balfour intends to file an appeal.