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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jennifer Hudson IDs nephew's body

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Bernice Simmons, 14, at a vigil Monday on South Yale Avenue for Jennifer Hudson's mother, nephew and brother, who were slain. (Tribune photo by Terrence Antonio James)

SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM THE CRIME SCENE AND INVESTIGATION

Academy Award-winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson stood again in the Cook County medical examiner's office, clutching the hands of loved ones as they identified the body of yet another slain relative -- her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King.

Even before family members arrived at the morgue Monday, they had been told that the three-day search for the 2nd grader had ended when his body was found slumped in the back seat of a sport-utility vehicle parked on a West Side street.

Amid visibly shaken family members in the medical examiner's office, Hudson bowed her head as if in prayer, then looked up.

"Yes, that's him," she told medical examiner officials as the family stood with her in an adjoining room and looked at a video monitor showing the boy's face.

The toll was inescapable: Hudson had lost her mother, her brother and now her nephew to a murderous rampage.

Even as the family gathered to answer one painful question, police searched the Chevrolet Suburban to answer others.

Officers questioned William Balfour, 27, the estranged husband of Julian's mother, on Friday night, but he stopped talking when police suggested he take a polygraph test, law-enforcement sources said. Balfour has not been charged in the slayings.

Although the sources say Balfour remains the focus of the investigation, the motive remains murky. Police say there have been ongoing disputes between him and his estranged wife, Julia Hudson, and her family.

Hudson's mother and brother had thrown him out of their Englewood house in the past, sources said. Julia Hudson also told police that Balfour had threatened the family. A source said Balfour told Julia Hudson he would kill her if he found out she had a boyfriend, despite the fact that he had other girlfriends.

In another incident, sources said, Julia Hudson arrived Friday morning at Sunrise Bus Co. on payday and discovered her wages had been garnished because of unpaid car payments. Sources said Balfour had taken her car months earlier but promised to make the payments on the vehicle. After seeing her pay stub, Julia Hudson called Balfour to complain about the unpaid bills, sources said.

Police believe that Balfour went to the Hudson family home Friday and shot through the front door, striking Hudson's brother, Jason. Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, came into the living room, screaming, and Balfour shot her as well, sources said. Shell casings were also found in the child's room, but there were no bullet holes or other signs of violence there. Much of the account of what police believe happened that day came from an interview with a girlfriend of Balfour's, sources said.

The sources also said Balfour's girlfriend contradicted his alibi and told police that he was involved in the slayings.

Police have not ruled out the possibility that more than one person was involved, though Supt. Jody Weis said Monday that Balfour was currently their only "person of interest."

On Sunday morning, officials transferred Balfour to Stateville Correctional Center, saying that because he was a suspect in the slayings, he violated conditions of parole for a 1999 conviction for attempted murder.

Over the weekend, the city scoured the area near the first shooting scene and a grid east of where the boy eventually was found. Officers and volunteers taped missing-person posters up in area shops, and vigils were held in Englewood.

But Julian was found Monday morning on the West Side after a tiny dog named Li'l Man howled and barked at an unfamiliar white SUV parked in the 1300 block of South Kolin Avenue.

The Chihuahua's reaction drew the attention of his owner, John Louden. The SUV matched the description of one police had sought in the killings since Friday. It remains unclear if police had canvassed the block, but some neighbors say they had seen the SUV since Friday. But no one called police before Monday.

Louden, 75, went inside and told his wife, Lynnette. Neighbors said the pace of drug dealing nearby often brought strange cars to the block. But when the Loudens saw the Suburban's license-plate number appear on television, Lynnette Louden called 911.

"The first thing I thought was," she said, " 'Lord, don't let the baby be in there.' "

But he was.

Julian was found slumped over in the back seat of the Suburban, shot in the head. A bullet was found lodged in the vehicle, leading detectives to believe he had been shot in the vehicle. Police don't know precisely when he was killed, saying they are waiting for more information from the medical examiner's office. Police are hoping to find physical evidence at the two crime scenes that breaks the case.

A prayer service was held for the three slain family members in Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church, where one of Hudson's cousins is a minister.

And on the block where the shootings happened near 70th Street and Yale Avenue, about 100 friends and strangers gathered for a candlelight vigil of song and prayer Monday evening.

Surrounded by stuffed animals, balloons and posters that had grown throughout the day, the crowd sang Jennifer Hudson's song "Spotlight."

On behalf of the Hudson family, the Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church announced establishment of the Hudson-King Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, c/o Seaway Bank and Trust Co., P.O. Box 19522, Chicago, Ill., 60619.

Angela Rozas, David Heinzmann and Robert Mitchum, Chicago Tribune

Tribune reporters Liam Ford, Jeff Long, Azam Ahmed, Emma Graves Fitzsimmons, Stacy St. Clair, Jeff Coen, Dan P. Blake and James Janega contributed to this report.


The 35 Most Insane Halloween Costumes from Around the World

By Chris Bucholz

Two years ago, we took you inside the insane world of Japanese Halloween costumes. Last year we visited the dark carnival that is the German Halloween industry. So how to top that this year? What nation or ethnic group would we slander next? Mexico is a fairly reliable whipping boy. Everyone hates Italians, how about them? Also, fuck Mongolia.

Well, it turns out that Japan is just way, way better at this than anyone else. So to keep it interesting, we've decided to throw the strangest costumes the rest of the world can muster against the Japanese. Sort of a World War of costumes that will haunt your dreams.

#35.

We didn't even know we wanted to see the Japanese take on Eddie Murphy in Delirious, but now we can't imagine how we lived without it.

#34.

Hey folks! There's a party in my pants! Only one guy's shown up so far, but he seems in pretty high spirits.

#33.

Cobalt Rape Demon, a character from a popular Japanese children's cartoon.

#32.

We're hoping Inter-racial limb and scalp transplants are a pretty big thing in Japan, because otherwise this is pretty inexplicable. We honestly can't tell if this is racist or not.

#31.

This is a little clearer.

#30.

The joke here is evidently that this guy's suit shrunk in the wash, but we have no idea why the back of the jacket is missing. They clearly didn't use the extra fabric on his shorts. Huge fake penis = funny. Clearly visible actual penis = also funny, but in a way that will make people edgy and uncomfortable.

#29.

See, now that's classic "huge fake penis" funny. Just be careful to not hang around schools in this one.

#28.

Leaving Japan for a stretch, this is actually a pretty good lobster costume, but also a perfect example of why men with mustaches don't get modeling work anywhere but Germany.

#27.

Russia has a weird relationship to western culture. They'll spend decades denouncing capitalism, and then wait in line for hours to taste a Big Mac. Or in this case, a Russian kid will murder an American icon and then use the severed head to compliment his pantyhose.

#26.

This is not a costume you wear if you want to meet women. This is a costume you wear if you want to meet victims.

#25.

Sort of a furry meets Eyes Wide Shut thing going on here. For at least a couple reasons, this looks like it would be a nightmare to clean.

#24.

Included for both the terrifying dead eyes, and for how pronounced the camel-toe is on this costume.

#23.

Fake noses are a pain in the ass for costumes, given their propensity to fall off while drinking or engaging in certain sex acts, but we don't think this is the answer. These guys look like they're about to hold up a Hallmark store.

#22.

Of course anything Westerners can do, the Japanese can do crazier. This is evidently some sort of Fourth Reich Reindeer superhero.

#21.

We were going to make some sort of "which one's the costume" joke, but we can't bring ourselves to do it - they're both so happy, we love these guys so much.

#20.

When Japan was six-years old, Christmas murdered his parents, and ever since then he's been kind of weird about it.

#19.

A star/flower/kitty mask. A lot of powerful iconography here, this represents an early attempt by Japanese scientists to crossbreed the cutest costume ever.

#18.

Holy fuck. We have looked at a lot of costumes these last few years, and this is the only one we've seen that makes you look like a child molester version of Brent Spiner.

#17.

Your guess is as good as ours. We can't disagree with the label though.

#16.

We lost track of the name of this one, but we're guessing it said "Orthogonal Pig Hat."

#15.

Kicking off our last cluster of rest-of-the-world-ers, this British costume represents a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of either the Rudolph mythos, or the basic anatomy of reindeer.

#14.

Shiver. From the part of Russia still using wood etchings for mass communication--there's actually a whole series of these, all featuring cherubic little boys outfitted in frilly costumes and longing pouty facial expressions. We went with this one because, in addition to the creepiness, we like the diagram of the important features of a carrot.

#13.

"Hey lady. I'm near-impotent and like to hide in the corner. Wanna fuck?"

#12.

For the winner in the not-Japan category, we have Germany at its absolute best. First of all, this is the creepiest lighting ever. It looks like a kangaroo prostitute standing under a lamp post on a deserted street, wondering how life slipped away from her. And why is her baby red? Is it still coated in afterbirth? Is this actually some non-marsupial in the midst of a C-Section? Fuck you Germany for making us ask these questions.

And yes, Japan topped that shit 11 times. Hold on to your butts.

#11.

We don't know what it is, we don't know why the wings disappeared when it landed on the cat's head, and we don't know where the probe is. All we do know is that we haven't been able to sleep since we saw these pictures.

#10.

The humor value of this Hello Kitty costume is directly proportional to how raspy and gruff the wearer's voice is. If you've got a bad cold or have spent years of your life at sea, putting this on and announcing to the room that you weigh the same as three apples will probably kill someone from laughter.

#9.

In Japan there's a huge problem with these guys sneaking into beach resorts and waiting for unsuspecting sunbathers to seek shelter from the sun.

#8.

The lack of leg holes, or room for anything south of the thigh, suggest this is probably the only haunted condom costume made for hovering double amputees in the world.

#7.

It's because of costumes like this that we here at Cracked finally changed our "sticking our dick in mailboxes" policy.

#6.

This robot is programmed for loving and is fully equipped to take it by force.

#5.

If you're kind of shy, this is the costume for you, because the less you say, the more hilarious it is. If you can wear this to a party, stand in the corner and say nothing the whole night, people will talk about you for years.

#4.

Awesome. If there's any adventurous girls reading this, here's an idea for this Halloween: turn this costume around, put it on, and see how many people get it. Now imagine trying to explain it to your children years from now, when a picture of it turns up on The Facebook of Tomorrow.

#3.

In Japan, they don't really understand how sideburns work.

#2.

It's stuff like this where Japan really demonstrates their dominance in the "fucking insanity" arena. The best western scientists working with the smartest robots could work for years and not come up with something like this.

#1.

Best costume of the year folks. We love the speedometer on this. Great for keeping it under control, and for measuring your progress. "Hey! We're making incredible time!"

If those costumes didn't convince you that the world is a terrifying place, check out 5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen. Or calm your nerves by reading up on The 7 Most Easily Escapable Movie Monsters. Or cower in the face of the horror that is CNN attempting to do comedy.

Original here