A judge began questioning potential jurors Monday in the case of William Balfour, accused of murdering Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew in October 2008. NBC Chicago's Anthony Ponce reports on what the judge asked and who listened in.
After about nine hours of questioning, 14 jurors were selected Monday to hear the trial of William Balfour, the man accused of killing three members of Jennifer Hudson's family.
Judge Charles Burns spent the day individually questioning each of the potential jurors, broken into two groups of 25, in an effort to choose 18 people who will hear the case. Six will be alternates.
Among other things, Burns wants to know how much candidates in the 150-person jury pool know about, Jennifer Hudson, the Grammy Award-winning singer and big-screen actress.
Potential jurors spent last week, Thursday, filling out a lengthy, 17-page questionnaire that included a dozen questions about Hudson, including whether they've read her books, watched her movies or seen "American Idol."
The first potential juror was asked basic questions about where he lives, where he's employed and whether he's been the victim of a crime or has ever been accused of a crime. He finished after about 10 minutes.
By 1 p.m., 12 people had been questioned and seven were dismissed. One woman said she'd watched "American Idol" but that it wouldn't affect her on the jury.
Balfour is accused of killing Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson; her 29-year-old brother, Jason Hudson; and her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King in 2008.
Prosecutors say Balfour is the estranged husband of Hudson's sister, Julia. Prosecutors also claim Balfour was jealous of Julia Hudson's new boyfriend when he broke into the family home and opened fire.
Jennifer Hudson is listed as a potential witness who could testify during trial. She's also expected to be in court every day once testimony begins as early as April 23.
"This case has been covered by numerous media outlets because the people who were killed in the incidents underlying the case were relatives of Jennifer Hudson," the questionnaire reads. "Have you heard, seen, or read anything, at all, about this case?"
Jurors must place check marks next to any media outlets and programs that carried any coverage they might have seen or heard.
Jury selection is expected to last two to three days.