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Jurors chosen in trial of man accused of killing Hudson relatives

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:02 PM EDT, Tue April 10, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: 18 jurors are selected in total, including six alternates
  • William Balfour is accused of fatally shooting Hudson's mother, brother and nephew
  • Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson's sister, has denied the charges
  • Opening statements are set for April 23, and the trial may last four weeks, the judge says

Chicago (CNN) -- Jury selection in the trial of a man accused of killing relatives of actress and singer Jennifer Hudson wrapped up Tuesday.

Eighteen people were selected, including six alternates. The group includes 10 women and eight men.

The murder trial comes more than three years after Hudson's mother, brother and nephew were killed.

William Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson's sister Julia, is accused of fatally shooting Hudson's mother and brother inside their Chicago home in October 2008. The body of Hudson's 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, was found three days later inside an abandoned vehicle.

Picking jurors for Hudson family trial

Balfour, who was Julian's stepfather, has also been charged with one count of home invasion.

About 150 people were candidates to be among the jurors or alternates in the case. The process of whittling down the pool began Monday morning.

The jury will be sequestered during the trial, Judge Charles Burns has said.

Opening statements in the case were set for April 23. The judge has said he expects the trial to last three to four weeks.

Balfour was detained for questioning the day after the victims were found at the Chicago home. Authorities at the time said that they were holding Balfour for an unspecified parole violation, but he ended up being indicted for murder two months later.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his lawyer has said in court there is no forensic evidence linking him to the killings.

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

The deaths took place a year after Hudson, who rose to fame as a contestant on "American Idol," won an Oscar for her role in the movie "Dreamgirls."

In a recent interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, Hudson reflected on the life of her mother, Darnell Donerson.

"My mother was a very wise and strong person. I feel like she raised us well, and she prepared me well, and so that's what I live by," she said.

Hudson, who is on the witness list, is expected to attend the upcoming trial.

Her career has continued to blossom and remain varied since her relatives' deaths. Her recent milestones include penning a memoir detailing her struggles with her weight, being cast to play Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie in an upcoming movie, releasing a new album and singing a well-received tribute to Whitney Houston at the most recent Grammy Awards show in February.

CNN's Ted Rowlands and Katherine Wojtecki in Chicago and Alan Duke in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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