Mourners gather for Hudson family funeral

CHICAGO (AP) - November 3, 2008

Hundreds of mourners streamed into a private funeral service for Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson's slain mother, brother and nephew Monday.

Small blue tickets that read "Hudson Family Funeral" were needed to enter the massive Apostolic Church of God, but that didn't deter crowds of onlookers who gathered outside.

Police directed traffic around the building, keeping passers-by across the street from its large front parking lot and away from those attending the services for Darnell Hudson Donerson, 57, Jason Hudson, 29, and Julian King, 7.

The three were found shot to death late last month, the adults in Donerson's home and Julian in a vehicle found several miles away. Julian is the son of Jennifer Hudson's older sister, Julia Hudson.

No one has been charged in the shootings, although authorities have called Julia Hudson's estranged husband, 27-year-old William Balfour, a "person of interest." He remains in custody on a parole violation.

Shenika Bowers, 35, of Chicago was one of several dozen people who stood outside the church in hopes of sharing sympathies with the singer-actress, who she did not see entering the church Monday.

"She needs us right now," Bowers said of Hudson. "She needs support from everyone who she can get it from. I cannot imagine how she feels but I do feel for her."

Latosha Funches, 33, of Chicago, said she's been a Hudson fan since the singer was on "American Idol" and wanted to pass along her condolences.

"I have kids of my own too," said Funches, who pushed her 11-month-old son in a stroller. "I know how she feels. I just hope she can get through it. She looks like she's very strong."

Monday's services followed a public memorial held Sunday at Pleasant Gift Memorial Baptist Church, Hudson's childhood church.

The bodies of Donerson and Jason Hudson were discovered Oct. 24 at the family's home. Julian's body was found three days later in a sport utility vehicle on the city's West Side.

Police arrested Balfour the same day the bodies of Donerson and Hudson were discovered. After 48 hours - the longest Chicago police can hold a person without charges - Balfour was taken by the Illinois Department of Corrections on a parole violation.

Balfour had served seven years for a 1999 attempted murder and vehicular hijacking conviction.

His mother, Michelle Balfour, of Chicago, has denied that her son had anything to do with the deaths.

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