ACTRESS Jennifer Hudson's former brother-in-law has been sentenced to life in prison for killing her mother, brother and seven-year-old nephew in a fit of jealous rage.
In blistering comments, Judge Charles Burns rejected William Balfour's claims that he was innocent.
"You have the heart of an arctic night," Burns told Balfour. "Your soul is as barren as dark space."
Balfour was convicted in May of first-degree murder over the 2008 shooting deaths of Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson (57) her brother Jason Hudson (29) and her seven-year-old nephew, Julian King.
During the trial, prosecutors portrayed Balfour, who was married to Hudson's sister, Julia Hudson, as a jealous estranged husband who often stalked the Hudson family home after he moved out in early 2008. Balfour's lawyers suggested someone else committed a crime in the family's home in Englewood, Chicago's.
Judge Burns' harshest comments yesterday came in regards to Julian's death. The judge's voice cracked as he recounted how terrified the child must have been in the seconds before he was shot twice in the head.
"I have no doubt in my mind he looked to you when you put bullets in his head," the judge said.
Hudson, who attended every day of Balfour's trial earlier this year, sat next to her sister and dabbed her eyes with a tissue a couple of times during the hearing, including the minutes in which Burns put his own anger into words. She left the courtroom without commenting.
Balfour offered his condolences to the Hudson family while maintaining that he didn't kill their relatives.
"My deepest prayers goes out to Julian King. I loved him," he said. "I'm innocent, your honour."
Burns, however, said he had no doubt "whatsoever" that Balfour committed the crimes, including the shooting of a little boy "just because he was there".
"I don't think you have one ounce of remorse in your soul," Burns said.
He sentenced Balfour to three terms of life in prison plus 120 years on other charges. Illinois does not have the death penalty.