Jennifer Hudson hasn’t yet had the courage to visit the graves of her mother, Darnell Donerson, her 29-year-old brother, Jason Hudson, and her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, but she has found the strength to forgive her brother-in-law, William Balfour, for their brutal murders.
“I’m not letting him off the hook for anything,” Hudson tells Oprah Winfrey on Sunday’s (Sept. 9) episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” adding she holds him “very responsible” for the 2008 murders of her family members.
“I feel like, for the most part, it’s not his fault. It’s what he was taught. How was brought up. We tried to offer love, but he was so far gone, he couldn’t even see that. A lot of things came out [during the trial] that we didn’t even know about from his upbringing … He never had a chance. He never had a chance,” Hudson says. “Had he had the love that my mother gave us, or the background that some have, then he would have stood a chance. How could your heart not go out to that?”
On Oct. 24, 2008, Hudson’s mother and brother were shot to death in their home. Her nephew was found dead in her brother’s stolen SUV three days later.
In May, Balfour, the then-estranged husband of Hudson’s sister Julia, was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder. In July, he was given three consecutive life sentences plus 120 years for other charges related to the murders.
Hudson says that since the sentencing, she now feels compelled to visit the gravesite.
“I haven’t been to the grave site since we buried them, but now I want to go because I feel like, ‘OK, we’ve accomplished this. We’ve done this. We got justice for you. We can’t come back here empty handed,'” Hudson says. “So now I feel like I deserve to be able to see them.”