According to Chicago police officials, the chain of events leading to the tragic murders of Jennifer Hudson's three family members began when her sister, Julia, celebrated her 31st birthday on October 23 with cake and a small party at home.
The next morning, Julia's estranged husband William Balfour – booted last February from the house in Chicago where they lived with Julia's mother and 7-year-old son – showed up and spotted a gift he believed came from another man.
That jealousy is the motive that allegedly led Balfour, 27, to return to the house after Julia had left for work and shoot her mother Darnell Donerson, 57, Jennifer's brother Jason, 29, then take Julia's son, 7-year-old Julian King.
He would go on to later kill him as well, prosecutors allege.
Jennifer Hudson and other family members were "relieved and happy" after Balfour was charged December 2 with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of home invasion, Chicago Police Deputy Superintendent Steve Patterson said.
Those family members assisted "every step of the way under very stressful and painful circumstances," adds police Superintendent Jody Weis.
William Balfour's attorney, Joshua Kutnick, says the stormy relationship between William Balfour and Julia Hudson makes his client "a convenient target."
"We are extremely confident that once all of the evidence has come to light and has been tested by our vigorous analysis of the case, that William will be found not guilty," Kutnick said after a judge ordered Balfour held without bail.
But the revelation that gunpowder residue turned up in William Balfour's green Chrysler "is indicative that he fired a handgun," Cook County Assistant State's Attorney LuAnn Snow says. "So yes, there is physical evidence."
In detailing their case against their prime suspect from day one, the police have described a growing tension between William Balfour and Julia Hudson.