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Suspect in Hudson family killings ordered to move from prison to jail

  • Story Highlights
  • William Balfour has been at Illinois' Stateville Correctional Center since December
  • Judge orders Balfour moved to county jail to make attorney visits easier
  • Suspect charged in killings of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew
  • Hudson is set to sing national anthem at the Super Bowl
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By Alan Duke
CNN
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(CNN) -- A judge ordered Tuesday that the man accused of killing singer and actress Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew be moved from a state prison to the Cook County jail to make it easier for his lawyer to meet with him.

Jennifer Hudson, at the October premiere of "The Secret Life of Bees," hasn't performed in public since the killings.

Jennifer Hudson, at the October premiere of "The Secret Life of Bees," hasn't performed in public since the killings.

William Balfour, 27, has been held at Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet, Illinois, since he was arrested in early December in what defense lawyer Joshua Kutnick called "a difficult position."

"[Balfour] has exhibited, to me, patience," Kutnick told CNN after Tuesday's hearing.

"He understands that this case is not going to be over this week or next week or next month," Kutnick said. "He realizes in order for us to establish that he's not guilty, that we're going to have to go through all the steps of fighting the case."

Kutnick said the defense is conducting its own investigation of the killings and has subpoenaed the prosecution's evidence. Nothing has been handed over yet, he said.

He would not speculate on when the case might go to trial. "You're talking about some time down the road," Kutnick said.

Balfour, indicted a month ago, entered a not guilty plea last week.

Tuesday was the first time Balfour has been before Judge Marjorie Laws, who was appointed last week after prosecutors asked that Judge Evelyn Clay be removed from the case. Prosecutors did not make public their reasons for wanting a new judge.

While Judge Laws ordered Balfour to be moved to Chicago, Kutnick said he expects it might just be for 10 days.

"The sheriff of Cook County does not always obey those orders because he is dealing with his own problems such as jail overcrowding," Kutnick said.

"He's doing OK" despite "being incarcerated under a difficult position," Kutnick said of Balfour.

"When any inmate is serving a sentence on a parole violation, they're kept in what's called the receiving unit," Kutnick said. "It's very restrictive. They don't get the kind of free time and privileges that general population gets, so that is very difficult for him."

Hudson has not performed in public since the deaths, but she is scheduled to sing the national anthem Sunday at the Super Bowl.

Balfour first was detained for questioning October 24, the day that Hudson's mother and brother were found shot to death. At the time, authorities said they were holding Balfour for an unspecified parole violation.

Prosecutors have portrayed Balfour as a jealous man who killed three people in a rage at the thought that his estranged wife had a boyfriend.

Balfour is the estranged husband of Hudson's sister, Julia Hudson, and stepfather of one of the victims, 7-year-old Julian King. He also has been charged with one count of home invasion.

Balfour denies the charges, and his attorney told the court in December there was no forensic evidence linking him to the killings

Hudson won a best supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of Effie in the 2006 film version of the Broadway musical "Dreamgirls." She competed on the third season of the TV singing competition "American Idol" and was among the top seven contestants before her elimination.

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