Jennifer Hudson Family Murders: Trial Jury Selection To Begin

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Jennifer Hudson
Jury selection in the murder trial of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew is scheduled to begin on Monday.

Jury selection for the trial of William Balfour, the man who is accused of murdering Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew in 2008, is set to begin on Monday, with the legal figures involved working hard to make sure that the singer and actress's celebrity clout doesn't influence proceedings.

Out of 150 prospective jurors, twelve -- with an additional six alternates -- will be selected, according to the Associated Press.

Jurors are being asked to fill out a questionnaire that contains 66 questions, nine of which are specifically about the singer, the AP reported. Jurors will be quizzed on their familiarity with Hudson's career, with questions about whether they have seen the 2006 musical film Dreamgirls, or read Hudson's book on weight loss, I Got This, which was released in January.

You don't want to get someone who is so simpatico with Jennifer Hudson and her plight, who feels like they are champions for Jennifer...and who wants to protect her or not disappoint her, New York defense attorney Joseph Tacopina told the AP.

The Shocking Murders

Hudson's mother and brother were found shot to death in October 2008 in the family home in the singer's native Chicago, according to an MTV report. Hudson's 7-year-old nephew, her sister's son, was found dead three days later in an abandoned vehicle, CNN reported.

Balfour, who had been married to Hudson's sister, was on parole at the time of the murders. He was arrested but not immediately charged with a crime, the New York Daily News reported. He pleaded not guilty in January 2009, MTV reported. His mother told the AP in 2008 that her son and his wife had been separated at the time of the killings. It is unclear if they are still legally married. The slain boy was his stepson.

Hudson is expected to attend the trial and is on the witness list, according to a CNN report. Opening statements are scheduled to begin on April 23.

Hudson in the Aftermath

Hudson's career, which was already taking off at the time of the murders thanks to an Oscar win for Dreamgirls and the successful debut of her first album, has been on a steady upward path since then.

Her first public appearance after the tragedy was at the Super Bowl in February 2009. The subdued-looking singer belted out The Star-Spangled Banner.

She released another studio album in 2011, titled I Remember Me. One song on the album, titled Still Here, is a tribute to her family.

I'm in a different place, and the album reflects that, Hudson said, according to her website biography.

She also performed a tribute to the late singer Whitney Houston at the Grammys in February, singing a version of I Will Always Love You.

Hudson continues to act. She played the title role in the 2011 film Winnie, playing Nelson Mandela's second wife. She will next be seen playing a nun in the comedy film The Three Stooges, which hits theaters on Friday. 

She also became a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers in 2010. Her weight loss has become a media and Internet sensation, with many people looking up Jennifer Hudson weight loss just about every time she makes a public appearance.

Hudson's personal life is also thriving. She is engaged to fiancé David Otunga, also a Chicago native. Their son was born in 2009. Hudson told Access Hollywood in November that she and Otunga plan on marrying in their hometown.

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