USMagazine, Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 6:00am (PDT)
Jennifer Hudson can forgive the man, but she can't forgive the act.
Less than a month after her brother-in-law, William Balfour, was convicted of murdering her 57-year-old mother, Darnell Donerson, her 29-year-old brother, Jason Hudson, and her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, on October 24, 2008, the Academy Award winner shared her grief during an appearance on September 9 episode of Oprah's Next Chapter.
(On July 24, Balfour, 31, was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of ever being paroled.)
"I'm not letting him off the hook for anything," Hudson, 30, told host Oprah Winfrey, 58. Though she holds him "very responsible" for murdering her immediate family members, Hudson said she's also learned to forgive Balfour.
"I feel like, for the most part, it's not his fault. It's what he was taught. How was brought up. We tried to offer love, but he was so far gone, he couldn't even see that. A lot of things came out [during the trial] that we didn't even know about from his upbringing. . . He never had a chance. He never had a chance," Hudson explained. "Had he had the love that my mother gave us, or the background that some have, then he would have stood a chance. How could your heart not go out to that?"
When Cook County Circuit Judge Charles Burns delivered Balfour's sentencing in July, the singer -- who finished in seventh place on American Idol in 2004 -- "felt so many things," she told Winfrey. "There was definitely a celebration because he's off the streets. My child [David, Jr., 3] is going to be safe."
Hudson's interview with Winfrey was conducted on August 14 -- what would have been her nephew's 11th birthday. "I haven't been to the grave site since we buried them, but now I want to go because I feel like, 'Okay, we've accomplished this. We've done this. We got justice for you. We can't come back here empty handed,'" Hudson said. "So now I feel like I deserve to be able to see them."
With Balfour behind bars, Hudson feels she's gotten closure -- even though the tragedy will haunt her forever. "I remember one time when William had an argument with my sister. They had split up he went up to her job and he told her, 'I'm gonna take Julian,'" Hudson shared. "And Julian went home and told my mother, and my mother said, 'Over my dead baby.' That's exactly what happened."