Police found a handgun Wednesday matching the caliber of weapon used in the murders of actress Jennifer Hudson's three family members, providing a potential break in the case, law enforcement sources told the Chicago Tribune.
The gun was found in an alley just a block from the spot in North Lawndale where Hudson's 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, was found shot to death and left in the back seat of a white Chevy Suburban.
Although it is not uncommon to find guns stashed in public places where street gangs operate, police were intrigued by the discovery because it is a .45-caliber weapon. Police compared the ammunition in the recovered gun with shell casings found at the murder scenes and determined that they were the same make, a law enforcement source said.
Also, at least one witness claims to have seen someone driving a vehicle matching the white Suburban through the alley toss something from the window, a source said. The weapon was being tested to compare with ballistics taken from the murder scenes, police said.
There's evidence there may have been another person involved in the murder of Hudson's mother, brother, and nephew, reports TMZ.com.
Investigators have honed in on William Balfour's movements after the killings on Chicago's South Side, according to the Chicago Tribune, and "are trying to determine" if someone else drove the prime suspect to the West Side, where the body of 7-year-old Julian King was found.
Witnesses have told cops they saw Balfour drive a teal Chrysler to the Hudsons' block on Friday morning, and that car was eventually found about a mile away. The SUV in which Julian was discovered ended up about 13 miles away from the Hudson house.
The boy's stepfather, Balfour, remains the primary suspect in the murders, police sources told The Chicago Sun-Times. He is the estranged husband of Julia Hudson, who lived in the home with her brother Jason, 29, and mother, Darnell Donerson, 57. Julia Hudson is Julian's mother and the sister of Jennifer Hudson.
Balfour was taken into custody at a girlfriend's home hours after the bodies were found. Sources say the girlfriend contradicted his alibi. Police say they’ve also caught him in at least one other lie. Police were able to track his whereabouts Friday through cell phone records, sources said.
Police Supt. Jody Weis identified the body found on Chicago's West Side is that of 7-year-old Julian King. The identity of the body also was confirmed by the Cook County medical examiner's office, where an autopsy will be done Tuesday, reports The Chicago Tribune.
The boy's aunt, actress-singer Hudson and three other relatives went to the office and identified the body, authorities said.
Julian's body was found in the back seat of the white Chevrolet Suburban police were looking for in their search for Julian, three days after Hudson's mother and brother were found shot to death in the mother's house in Englewood.
Law enforcement sources said that the boy was shot multiple times in the back of the vehicle.
The Oscar-winning actress' brother-in-law William Balfour had been arrested over the double murder, and was being questioned by the police, but no charges have been filed.
The police have not named anyone as an official suspect. They have called Balfour "a person of interest." Our law enforcement sources, however, have said Balfour is indeed the prime suspect.
On Sunday morning, Balfour was transferred to an undisclosed state facility for violating conditions of parole on a 1999 conviction for attempted murder. Police are testing Balfour's clothing for gunshot residue.
According to law-enforcement sources, Balfour's alibi the day of the killings has been contradicted by his girlfriend.
Hudson has posted a message on her MySpace page, thanking fans and friends for their words of support and appealing for help to find her missing 7-year-old nephew, according to TMZ.
Hudson reached out to her fans in an online message, accompanied by a picture of Julian King, who is believed to have been abducted at the time of the murder.
The message reads, "Thank you all for your prayers and your calls. Please keep praying for our family and that we get Julian King back home safely. If anyone has any information about his whereabouts please contact the authorities immediately. Here is a picture of Julian and what he was last seen wearing. Once again thank you all for being there for us through this tough time."
Yesterday, Julia Hudson, the 31-year-old sister of the actress made a public plea at a Chicago church for the return of her son, AP reports.
Hudson’s sister spoke from the podium at Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church alongside the boy's father, Greg King, AP reports. She says her son "doesn't deserve this."
Hudson -- who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her tremendous performance in Dreamgirls, and whose song “Spotlight” has hit the top of the R&B charts -- credits her mother and family for keeping her grounded.
In a recent interview with AP, Hudson said: "My faith in God and my family, they're very realistic and very normal, they're not into the whole limelight kind of thing, so when I go home to Chicago that's just another place that's home. I stand in line with everybody else, or, when I go home to my mom I'm just Jennifer, (so she says), 'You get up and you take care of your own stuff.' And I love that; I don't like when people tell you everything you want to hear — I want to hear the truth, you know what I mean?"
MORE NEWS: Barack Obama Campaign Down to the 'Wire'
Former Cheers star Kirstie Alley has confessed her huge weight gain started
after she miscarried her only pregnancy.
The actress, who is now poking fun at her size on hit Showtime show Fat Actress,
admits she piled on the pounds when she discovered she was pregnant in 1990 and
then couldn't lose the weight when she miscarried three months later.
In her new book, How To Lose Your Ass & Regain Your Life: Reluctant
Confessions of a Big-Butted Star, Alley reveals, "When the baby was gone, I
just didn't really get over it. Neither did my body.
"I so thoroughly convinced my body it was still pregnant that after nine
months, I had milk coming from my breasts.
"I was still fat, I was still grieving, and I had just been told that it was
very possible I would never be able to have children.
"Fat, childless, with little hope for any future children... that's when I
began to get fat."
Alley has since filled the gap her miscarriage left in her life by adopting
children William True, now 12, and Lillie Price, 10.
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Top Story: Messing To Miss Grace Finale
Ordered by her doctor to stay off her feet in her last months of pregnancy, Will & Grace star Debra Messing has been written out of the last four episodes of the show, including the one-hour season finale, Reuters reports. Messing's spokeswoman said the eight-month-pregnant actress is doing "great," but was told "to be careful and take it easy, preferably bed rest." She added there were no complications with the pregnancy. The season finale is set to air April 29 and centers on Karen (Megan Mullally) and her outlandish wedding to guest star John Cleese. Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez will also make a guest appearance.
Jackson's Accuser Testifies to Grand Jury
Even though the court hearings are under a media blackout, sources close to the child molestation case against Michael Jackson told The Associated Press that Jackson's 14-year-old accuser testified before the grand jury Tuesday. The hearing also included testimony from Jamie Masada, the comedy club owner who first arranged for Jackson and the boy to meet, according to AP's source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. If prosecutors obtain a grand jury indictment they would not have to present evidence at a preliminary hearing to determine if the case should go to trial.
In Other Jackson Family News…
Could wedding plans be in store for Janet Jackson and beau Jermaine Dupri? The couple spent Monday evening canoodling at a New York nightclub after Jackson's appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, AP reports. When asked if the two heard wedding bells, Dupri replied with a grin, "Y'all hear them before I do! That's what everybody is telling me!"
Hung Just Wants To Sing
Now that he's used about 14 of his 15 minutes of fame, American Idol reject William Hung, who brought new meaning to Ricky Martin's song "She Bangs," is determined more than ever to make it as a singer. Hung, who proudly said on TV that he doesn't have any professional musical training, is now very serious about his career and plans to take voice training and dance lessons. "Oh yeah, that's going to change, of course. I want to get better," he told AP Radio. Hung's new album, Inspiration, will be released April 6.
No Date Set for Klein, Holmes
Betrothed Chris Klein and Katie Holmes are having a tough time trying to fit a wedding into their busy schedules. In an interview with AP Radio, Klein believed proposing to Holmes was the natural "next step" in their five-year relationship. "I really believe it's the natural evolution of a relationship," Klein said. "As you grow up in your life, your relationships grow and mature." But the 25-year-old actor, who popped the question in December, said he and Holmes, also 25, haven't set the date yet. "What we do is very different from the normal 'nine-to-five' type of situation. We're actually apart for long stretches of time." Klein has been promoting his new movie, The United States of Leland, and Holmes has been filming the new Batman movie.
Idol, Apprentice Top Nielsens
Reality television reigned with Fox's American Idol and NBC's The Apprentice coming out on top in the ratings, AP reports. CBS won the week overall with an average of 11.5 million viewers, while NBC came in second with 10.9 million, followed by Fox (9.8 million), ABC (8 million), UPN (3.3 million) and the WB (2.7 million). For the week of March 22-28, the top 10 shows included: American Idol (Tuesday), Fox; The Apprentice, NBC; American Idol (Wednesday), Fox; CSI: Miami, CBS; Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; 60 Minutes, CBS; Survivor: All-Stars, CBS; Friends, NBC; Two and a Half Men, CBS; Will & Grace, NBC.
Cheers Ladies Get Pilots
Former Cheers leading ladies Kirstie Alley and Shelley Long are heading back to the tube in separate pilot sitcoms. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Alley is in final negotiations to play Ricki Lake's mother in an untitled CBS comedy pilot about a young widow and her mom, who are raising the widow's two sons after the death of her policeman husband, while also running a bar frequented by cops. Long is set to star in an untitled NBC project centering on the relationship between an adult son and his newly divorced father (Tom Conti). Long will play the mother.
Role Call: Eastwood, Swank Have Baby
Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood and actress Hilary Swank are joining forces on Million Dollar Baby. According to the Reporter, the drama, based on two short stories from the collection Rope Burn by F.X. Toole, is a tragic and platonic love story involving a woman in her early 30s who is determined to begin a boxing career and a fighter-turned-trainer. Eastwood will direct, produce as well as star.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 9, 2000 -- The infectious bug that has been plaguing TV series of late -- you know, the "I feel that my time with the show is up and I've decided to move on" epidemic -- has claimed another victim.
The latest casualty is none other than "Veronica's Closet's" Kathy Najimy. Trade papers report today that the actress, who plays Olive, Veronica's (Kirstie Alley) trusted sidekick and confidant, will bid farewell to the NBC comedy at the end of this season.
Najimy tells Variety that her decision to leave the show is based purely on personal reasons. With "Veronica's Closet" behind, Najimy reportedly plans to spend more time with her 3-year-old daughter, not to mention more of the same said time on a would-be "feature career."
Of course, the concept of "leaving" "Veronica's Closet" might become a moot point. The unbeloved comedy series, now in its third season, was already benched once this season by NBC for low ratings. It is currently mired in 85th place among all shows and is considered a long shot for fall renewal.
SUPERHERO SAVES FOX: Patrick Warburton, the guy who played Elaine's mechanic beau Dave Puddy on "Seinfeld," will return to the tube in the form of a blue superhero in the Fox comedy pilot "The Tick."
Once a Saturday morning toon on Fox, "The Tick" follows the adventures of a dim-witted crime fighter and his ex-accountant sidekick as they battle bad guys with names such as Chairface Chippendale, El Seed and Breadmaster.
The new live-action half-hour pilot will be directed by the enthusiastic Barry Sonnenfeld ("Wild Wild West").
"I've been a huge fan of 'The Tick' for years," Sonnenfeld told the Hollywood trade papers. "I like it even more than my 6-year-old daughter. It's really up my alley. It doesn't feel like anything on television today."
(Let us guess -- Mr. Sonnenfeld doesn't have cable.)
Warburton, meanwhile, has handled superhero duties prior to "The Tick." Dig this, "Seinfeld" fiends, the actor was the voice of Superman in those American Express commercials starring Jerry Seinfeld.
'LEEZA' IS DEAD: No, not Leeza Gibbons, but her fast-sinking eponymous talk show. Cause of its likely death? Ultra-bad ratings.
Word on the street is that "Leeza" will not live to see a second season in syndication.
The daytime talk show went through various transformation and network shuffles in its (technically) 7-year history. It was first conceived by NBC in 1993 as "John & Leeza," the John, of course, being Gibbons' "Entertainment Tonight" co-hort John Tesh. The show downsized to simply "Leeza" in 1994 when the above-mentioned Tesh bailed. In September, NBC decided to sell the show to non-NBC outlets, thereby banishing the show to syndication.
"LIP" SERVICE: Oscar- and Emmy-winning director-producer James L. Brooks ("Terms of Endearment," "As Good As It Gets," "Jerry Maguire") is set to endow the tube with a live-action romantic comedy series for ABC.
The comedy, still untitled, will be based on a character from the 1988 radio series "Lip Schtick." Joan Cusack, whom Brooks collaborated with on the 1987 flick "Broadcast News," will stake the title role.
Slated for a slot in ABC's 2000-2001 lineup, the show will mark Cusack's prime-time debut and Brook's first TV gig since his stint as the executive producer of the animated series "The Critic" in 1994.
RANDOM BITS: NBC has picked up a half-hour comedy pilot starring David Alan Grier ("In Living Color"). Grier is slated to play a Secret Service man in charge of protecting the first lady. ...
... CBS has greenlit a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced ("Armageddon," "Pearl Harbor") drama pilot for the new fall season. The project is said to be an hour-long drama called "CSI." Starring William Petersen, the series revolves around forensic crime-scene investigators working in Vegas. ...
THE COURT OF POPULAR OPINION: Democracy sometimes flourishes in the most unlikely places, just ask Judge Judy -- one of the many, many finalists chosen by TV viewers of America for the 2nd Annual TV Guide Awards.
More than 1.5 million viewers cast ballots to determine nominees in 22 categories. NBC led all networks in mentions with 20 finalists. Winners will be announced March 5 in a Fox broadcast.
Here's the complete list of the TV Guide Award nominees, as announced today:
Favorite Actor in a New Series David Boreanaz, "Angel" (WB) Billy Campbell, "Once and Again" (ABC) Dan Futterman, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Martin Sheen, "The West Wing" (NBC)
Favorite Actress in a New Series Amy Brenneman, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Tyne Daly, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC) Sela Ward, "Once and Again" (ABC)
Favorite Actor in a Comedy Bill Cosby, "Cosby" (CBS) Michael J. Fox, "Spin City" (ABC) David Hyde Pierce, "Frasier" (NBC) Ray Romano, "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS)
Favorite Actress in a Comedy Jenna Elfman, "Dharma & Greg" (ABC) Calista Flockhart, "Ally McBeal" (FOX) Lisa Kudrow, "Friends" (NBC) Phylicia Rashad, "Cosby" (CBS)
Favorite Actor in a Drama David Duchovny, "The X-Files" (FOX) David James Elliott, "JAG" (CBS) Dennis Franz, "NYPD Blue" (ABC) Sam Waterston, "Law & Order" (NBC)
Favorite Actress in a Drama Gillian Anderson, "The X-Files" (FOX) Roma Downey, "Touched by an Angel" (CBS) Melina Kanakaredes, "Providence" (NBC) Julianna Margulies, "ER" (NBC)
Favorite New Series "Judging Amy" (CBS) "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC) "Once and Again" (ABC) "The West Wing" (NBC)
Favorite Comedy Series "Ally McBeal" (FOX) "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS) "Frasier" (NBC) "Friends" (NBC)
Favorite Drama Series "ER" (NBC) "Providence" (NBC) "The Practice" (ABC) "Touched by an Angel" (CBS)
Favorite Soap Opera "All My Children" (ABC) "Days of Our Lives" (NBC) "General Hospital" (ABC) "The Young and the Restless" (CBS)
Favorite Sportscaster Terry Bradshaw (FOX) Bob Costas (NBC) Howie Long (FOX) John Madden (FOX)
Favorite Daytime Talk Show "Judge Judy" (Syndicated) "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee" (Syndicated) "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (Syndicated) "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" (Syndicated)
Favorite Game Show "Hollywood Squares" (Syndicated) "Jeopardy!" (Syndicated) "Wheel of Fortune" (Syndicated) "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (ABC)
Favorite News Personality Tom Brokaw (NBC) Katie Couric (NBC) Peter Jennings (ABC) Matt Lauer (NBC)
Favorite Late Night Show "Late Show With David Letterman" (CBS) "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher" (ABC) "Saturday Night Live" (NBC) "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (NBC)
ONLINE NOMINEES Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (WB) "Charmed" (WB) "The X-Files" (FOX)
Favorite Reality TV "Biography" (A&E) "Behind the Music" (VH1) "The Real World" (MTV)
Favorite TV Pet Eddie, "Frasier" (NBC) Happy, "7th Heaven" (WB) Salem, "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (ABC)
Favorite TV Movie or Miniseries "Annie" (ABC) "Joan of Arc" (NBC) "Tuesdays with Morrie" (ABC)
Favorite News Program "Dateline NBC" (NBC) "Entertainment Tonight" (Syndicated) "20/20" (ABC)
Favorite Music Show "Behind the Music" (VH1) "Total Request Live" (MTV) "Pop-Up Video" (VH1)
Favorite Children's Show "Blue's Clues" (Nickelodeon) "Rugrats" (Nickelodeon) "Sesame Street" (PBS)
AOL KEYWORD: TV GUIDE EXCLUSIVE CATEGORY
Favorite Teen Show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (WB) "Dawson's Creek" (WB) "Popular" (WB)