- Associated Press - Thursday, May 10, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) - Jurors finished a second day of deliberations Thursday without a verdict in the trial of the man charged with murdering Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.

The jury is scheduled to resume deliberations Friday morning in the trial of Hudson’s former brother-in-law, William Balfour. Judge Charles Burns has ordered the jurors sequestered at a hotel to ensure they won’t view media coverage of the trial.

Balfour, who turned 31 on Thursday, pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in the October 2008 slayings. The former gang member faces a mandatory life prison sentence if he’s convicted on all charges.

Prosecutors say Balfour murdered Hudson’s mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in an act of vengeance because his estranged wife at the time, Hudson’s sister Julia Hudson, refused to reconcile with him.

With no surviving witnesses to call on to testify, prosecutors spent two weeks presenting a largely circumstantial case against Balfour.

His attorney, Amy Thompson, seized on that during her closing argument, saying prosecutors had failed to meet the burden of proof needed to convict Balfour of murdering the three victims.

Prosecutors presented 11 days of testimony and called 83 witnesses, starting with Jennifer Hudson, who was an “American Idol” finalist before winning the 2007 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film adaptation of the musical, “Dreamgirls.”

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