Who was Darnell Donerson?
Darnell Donerson was the mother of singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, who won the Academy Award for her role in the 2007 film “Dreamgirls”. Darnell was also the grandmother of Julian King, Hudson’s nephew, and the mother of Jason Hudson, Hudson’s brother. Darnell was 57 years old when she was killed on October 24, 2008, in her home in Chicago, Illinois. She was a devout Christian who attended Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago. She was survived by her daughters Jennifer and Julia Hudson Balfour, according to Find a Grave.
How did Darnell Donerson die?
Darnell Donerson was shot to death along with her son Jason Hudson, 29, inside her home in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. The bodies were discovered by Julia Hudson Balfour, Hudson’s sister and Darnell’s daughter, when she returned from work. Julia’s son Julian King, 7, was missing from the home and an AMBER Alert was issued. Three days later, Julian’s body was found in the back seat of an SUV parked on the West Side of Chicago. He had also been shot multiple times. A .45-caliber gun found near the parked SUV was linked to all of the shooting deaths, according to Wikipedia.
Who killed Darnell Donerson and her family?
The prime suspect in the murders was William Balfour, the estranged husband of Julia Hudson Balfour. Balfour was a convicted felon who had served nearly seven years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and possession of a stolen vehicle. He was on parole at the time of the murders. Balfour had married Julia in 2006 but had been separated from her since 2007. He was allegedly angry that Julia was dating another man and had threatened to kill her and her family several times before the murders, according to ThoughtCo.
Balfour was arrested on December 1, 2008, and charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony home invasion. He pleaded not guilty and went to trial in April 2012. The prosecution presented evidence that Balfour had tried to get a former girlfriend to provide him with a false alibi and that his cell phone records placed him near the crime scenes. Jennifer Hudson was the first witness to testify at the trial and identified Balfour as the killer. She also said that she had warned her sister not to marry him. On May 11, 2012, the jury found Balfour guilty of all charges. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
How did Jennifer Hudson cope with the loss of her mother and family?
Jennifer Hudson, who was in Florida at the time of the murders, flew back to Chicago to identify the bodies of her mother and brother. She also offered a $100,000 reward for the safe return of her nephew, but it was too late. Hudson was devastated by the tragedy and took a break from her career to mourn. She later said that her faith in God and the support of her fans helped her to heal. She also created the Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims in honor of her mother, brother and nephew. The foundation provides assistance to families who have lost relatives to violent crimes.
Hudson resumed her career in 2009 and performed at the Super Bowl, the Grammy Awards and the Oprah Winfrey Show. She also released her second album, I Remember Me, in 2011 and her third album, JHUD, in 2014. She continued to act in films such as The Secret Life of Bees, Sex and the City 2, Winnie Mandela and Cats. She also became a coach on The Voice UK and The Voice US. She is set to play Aretha Franklin in the biopic Respect, which is scheduled to be released in 2021. Hudson has a son, David Daniel Otunga Jr., who was born in 2009. She was engaged to wrestler and actor David Otunga, but they split in 2017. Hudson has said that she still feels the presence of her mother and family and that they inspire her to keep going.