Hudson Family Tragedy Takes Another Dark Turn

A domestic violence attack so familiar and so depressing continues to play itself out in Chicago as police have found what maybe singer/actress Jennifer Hudson’s brother’s missing white SUV with the body of a young black boy inside. It’s likely that this is the body of Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, who disappeared after the murders of Hudson’s mother and brother Friday.

From The Associated Press:

Police searching for Jennifer Hudson‘s missing 7-year-old nephew found the body of a young black boy in an SUV Monday. There was no confirmation on the identity of the body.

Hudson’s nephew, Julian King, hasn’t been seen since Friday, when Hudson’s mother and brother were found shot to death in their home. Police issued an Amber Alert for Julian, who lived in the home, and were looking for a 1994 white Chevrolet Suburban.

The body was found in a white SUV on the city’s West Side Monday. It was towed away with the body still inside. Police refused to comment.

As a newspaper reporter I covered a lot of crime but none bothered me more than the murderers that happened at the hands of spouses and relatives taking out their aggression on innocent friends and family members. I once worked on a homicide story regarding a former Bakersfield middle school vice principal, Vincent Brothers. Several years ago his wife Joanie, her mother — a local civil rights activist — and Joanie and Vincent’s three children, ages two, four and 6 months, were found shot to death in their home. Brothers was charged with and tried for their murders and now sits on death row in California.

The case made me angry because if the prosecution, the police and my paper’s own sleuthing is to be believed, Brothers was a self-involved, selfish, arrogant man, who cheated on his wife, lead a secret life from her and resented playing child support to a teenage daughter from a previous relationship. He was vain and wanted to leave his wife, but had no real desire to be held responsible for any of his children. He’d been a well-liked member of the community until the murderers happened. They were so violent and malicious and unnecessary. It just made me angry.

What right did he have to take away someone’s life just because he didn’t want to own up to his responsibilities?

It was the same with Scott Peterson, who killed his pregnant wife Lacey over one Christmas, the countless “boyfriends” who shook their girlfriends’ babies to death because they “wouldn’t stop crying,” the foster parents who treated their displaced children like slaves making them work a horse farm with little water or affection (that was an especially messed up crime to come out of Bakersfield).

I used to joke with my friend, the police reporter, that they should start printing up T-shirts for babies in Bakersfield that said their age and “still alive!” underneath them. But the joke was based on the sad truth that our paper did cover a lot of dead women and children, all murdered at the hands of people who claimed to love them.

Why didn’t they just walk away, I always find myself asking? Why didn’t the alleged murder just kill themselves rather than take out their whole family first? Why did the more cunning ones go on for months playing coy like they didn’t know her body was floating in the Bay? Why didn’t those boyfriends ever leave the house rather than shake a child, who often wasn’t theirs, to death?

But what has bothered me the most is that in domestic violence, women get mad, women organize, but many men still stand on the sidelines as if these acts of violence don’t affect them. Much like the fight against rape, there seems to be a reluctance to join the fight in issues that adversely impact women and children. I’ve never understood this because in the end, we women can scream until we’re blue in the face, but rape and domestic violence will never be taken seriously unless everyone, men and women, take it seriously.

A rape counselor once told me something that surprised me at the time, but made perfect sense as I got older, only men can stop rape. A crime often perpetrated by men, tried and prosecuted by men, there are so many levels of obfuscation that exist to keep women who have been sexually assaulted or who are victims of domestic violence silent. Things are better and more resources are available, but many of the same old thinking still exists, left over from centuries of when women and children were considered, by law and religion, to be mere property.

These issues affect mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, co-workers — how can someone sit on the fence and not speak out when they see something wrong? How is it that the national attitude towards domestic and sexual violence is set by the fence sitters who still want to shrug it off as an aberration or justifiable?

And with black people it seems doubly worse. We’re reluctant to deal with these issues because we want to protect our own, not realizing that in protecting abusers were are simply allowing ourselves to be victims. We should celebrate men who do the right things, who go above and beyond the call of duty. Cherish them. Don’t cover for the rapists, child molesters, violent lovers and perverse family members who lurk among us. The ones who we are often told to cover for no matter what horrors they’ve committed.

Vincent Brothers, the murderer I covered, didn’t exist in a vacuum. He didn’t merely sit around for thirty years then suddenly “went off.” He’d been violent towards his college girlfriend, he’d had a turbulent previous marriage, most people he worked with didn’t even know he was married as he kept no pictures of his wife and kids and wore no ring. His wife tried to leave him a few times, but they remained together. He went decades without seeing his family back east, but they all had alibis for him when the murderers happened. They all made excuses. No one ever questioned him because he was supposed to be one of the good ones. A success story. No one wanted to “bring a good brother down.”

Then he murdered his family.

I’m a stand-by-your-man kind of girl if that man is worth standing for. With the high profile murders of Hudson’s family, possibly out of vengeance by her sister’s jailbird ex-husband, once again I’m left to wonder how many excuses were made for this individual before her sister finally realized she needed to get away from him? How many times will his family go on television to say he would never do such horrible things when he went to prison for attempted murder previously? Would everyone pretend like this happened in a vacuum? Like he never exhibited violent behavior before and like there aren’t others like him lurking in our communities?

Some will point out that Hudson’s sister Julia did a poor job in selecting a husband and that most assuredly she did. She picked a violent ex-con. I’m sure he had a great story to tell her. Many of them do. But that doesn’t change the fact that no one h
as the right to take another’s life. I hope people learn from this tragedy and it will go on to prevent new tragedies from occurring. I hope Hudson’s home church and other community groups will do more outreach to women and children-at-risk. Do more to educate men, young and old, that passivity is not acceptable and that they must help lead on this issues. That they must do more to prevent this violence and hold their brothers accountable.

I hope men and women come forward to stand up for their mothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends and friends to get the point across to the more recalcitrant members of the community that this behavior is not acceptable. Women and children are people, not property you can simply dispose of when they no longer pose a selfish use.

25 thoughts on “Hudson Family Tragedy Takes Another Dark Turn

  1. It’s indeed a horrible tragedy. I read a very interesting book a long time ago that showed that domestic violence is statistically divided between the husband and wife. Both share the blame in the domestic abuse, even though women are generally much smaller. The book argued that many couples play this “dance of death” with each other until something fatal happens sometimes. Again, I’m truly sorry for what happened. I’m glad you did mention, Snob, at the end that Jennifer’s sister picked her husband out of an available pool of men, knowing what he was and as a consequence, her actions set into motion all of this. Peace and love always

  2. Snob,I agree with everything in your post. I have had this same conversation with friends all weekend (and everytime something like this happens)…too often the only response I get back is a blank stare…sigh…

  3. Beautiful post, thank you.I’m very not cool with the whole “why did she pick a loser to procreate with, she’s therefore responsible” way of looking at the situation though–again it takes the burden off of men who perpetrate violence and makes it the woman’s fault. It’s the old “she was in a short skirt/she deserved to be raped” thing again. As you said, Snob, I’m sure he had a great story about how he had changed his ways and seen the light (and probably about how she supposedly helped that happen). I can’t imagine he was obviously a total scumbag when she met him. I’m sure dude had good qualities and that one thing so many women can’t resist–potential–that kept her coming back, sticking with him, trying to make things work. We’ve all seen that before. Blaming her is pointless, adds insult to injury, and shifts our attention–unfairly–away from him.*steps off soapbox*

  4. all: As a reporter I’m all too familiar with the blank stares and the tendency to blame the victim. Yeah, she picked a crappy husband. But once again, that doesn’t give him the right to murder her mother, brother and child. Nothing gives anyone that right. Unless your name is God, you shouldn’t be killing anyone out of anything other than self-defense. People make bad choices in mates all the time, but those mates don’t turn around and murder entire families.My crappy ex didn’t kill my family and he was awful. But if he had harmed any of us, I would have blamed myself, but in the end, the responsibility lies with the murderer. There’s just no excuse for this sort of behavior and telling women to make better boyfriend choices won’t solve it either. Domestic violence is a problem across all ethnicities and socioeconomic groups. You could pick royalty and still end up with an abusive jerk. I do recall a certain Princess of Wales who had both an unfortunate upbringing and a cruel, loveless marriage. Shit happens. Doesn’t give anyone the right to kill.

  5. Of course not. Life is sacred and everyone should make every attempt to save it when possible. I believe that everything, good and bad, that happens to us comes from God, and even the bad stuff are designed for our ultimate good. It’s up to Jennifer’s sister to work these things out, and learn and grow from the experience. Peace always

  6. Women should not blame themselves but it seems hard not to feel some level of guilt when these things happen; by the same token even if one of my daughters is accussed of a hideous crime, I’m not coming out and claiming that there’s no way she could have done it! I hope not but I wouldn’t be professing innocence if I thought there was a minute chance of this odd ball behavior occurring!

  7. I would feel guilty if I was in her position. Married a man who had been found guilty of attempted murder? Her standards were very low and her family had to pay the price. It doesn’t seem like she was taking proper care of her son.Seven years old and 130 pounds, thats crazy.

  8. I take umbrage with Anon@1:40.All of that has nothing to do with the fact that three people are dead at the hand of a ruthless coward. If she were more “socially acceptable” to you, and her son didn’t have a weight problem, would their deaths be more tragic??She already feels bad. We should offer her comfort, not chastize her for the choices she has made.deedlelee

  9. Yes it is the murdering person’s fault and we don’t want to blame the victim, but we do need to look at our motivations and our willingness to overlook glaring pathologies. The only reason why we’re talking about this is because it’s affected a famous person but this stuff goes on every day.Stepping on soapbox (and bear with me cuz this is very upsetting to me because I had a family member murdered by some wacko for no reason that close proximity and a willingness to overlook their criminal mindset)This guy got out of prison in 2006 and had known the family previously. Jennifer’s career had taken off, Dreamgirls was released. The sister Julia was raising her child it seems with no help from the father, so the ex-con steps in, but nobody questioned his motivation? And it’s 2008 and he already has another woman pregnant! That’s a lot to happen in 2 years. This is as much of a class issue as anything else. Black women are being harmed at much higher rates than other women because of our choices and we have less resources to help us when things fall apart. There’s a lot of damaged men out there – way beyond the ‘bad’ boy – but people in the Black community always get upset whenever someone wants to shine a light on it. The guy said he was going to do something to hurt the child and if he didn’t do it directly he knows who did. Maybe Julia was lonely. And wanted to be married. You know how we like to give some of the more troubled Black men 2nd, 3rd and 4th chances. It’s just I think this guy was looking for a payout from jump and when he figured out there was none he sold Julia’s car and then got some of his ex-con buddies to hurt the family, maybe to get money, maybe to seek revenge. It was just something that may have been avoided in the first place. Now they all have to pay a price. And I’m also gonna say this: Jennifer may need to rethink her quickie engagement to that former reality contestant as well. gets off soapbox

  10. Snob.I’m just numb. And like most folks; just angered. When people are angry they want to place blame on someone/something and they want justice. I think its just a natural reaction to want to point the finger at J-Hud’s sister. Doesn’t make it right; but I understand.Blaming doesn’t help; but God if I don’t feel that sisters do need to make better choices. I won’t jump the gun and say that he did anything; cause the facts aren’t completely out; but there are some lessons to be learned from this tragedy. Choose better for starters and Domestic Abuse affects everyone in your family; not just your relationship.What makes domestic violence such a sensitive issue is that a relationship is between two people and its usually none of our damn business what goes on between them. There have been times when I see a couple arguing publicly; and I haven’t said sh*t cause I felt it wasn’t my place to do so. You also have women who are willing to take the abuse and who are afraid to leave…how can you combat that? It’s a hard call….I just wanna know the motivation behind all this.

  11. Black women ooze the “I got a man” attitude due to their fatherless childhoods and will be happy sperm receptacles for any unsuitable man. On the other hand, black women with standards are seen as questionable if they aren’t clawing their way to any nearby penis. Ed-u-ma-cated BW who want to point fingers at poor blacks with the diversion of “class issues” (to stave off of the real conversation about race…a convo they have regurgitated from whitey), annoys the heck out of me. Why? Apparently they have no original intellectual thought of their own, they have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to use whitey’s defensive tactics against OTHER BLACK PEOPLE. This tragedy has nothing to do with class because this behavior is replicated in needy black women who hunger for “daddy” love and will not be solved by money, education, or any other delusions they believe separates them from the lowly black poor and working class. Fatherless black households and the resulting dramas borne out of them is epidemic across all areas of black female life. I’m sorry for J-hud’s sister, but I doubt she will make better choices in the future. I think most women choose the same type of man over and over again against their better judgement.

  12. For the record, I don’ blame Julia. I’m sure she’s dealing with a lot of pain, regret and guilt right now. I hope she rebounds from this tragedy and finds peace.

  13. I agree with Faith on this one!There was a similar case which took place back in January, known as the Hovey St. murders. Hovey St. is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. That is Professor Tracey’s territory, and here is the Professor’s always colorful description about what happened: ===============================Wednesday, January 23, 20084 Men + 50 Pounds Of Marijuana + Cash + 40-caliber handgun = 2 Women, 2 Children Murdered For Absolutely No Reason At AllYesterday, the alleged motive of the four suspects in the murders of Gina Hunt, Andrea Yarrell and their children was revealed. The men apparently targeted the home because they believed that there was about 50 pounds of marijuana and some cash in the house. They also believed that it was an easy score because there was “only women” in the house. It seems that all the suspects are talking, but nobody wants to take credit for the shooting. What a surprise! The suspected shooter is the man in the upper left-hand corner.Now take a look at the photo below. This is not a photo of evidence in the Hovey Street Murders. I posted this photo to bring home the absolutely senseless nature of this crime. The photo below is about 12 pounds of marijuana. 2 women and 2 children were murdered in cold blood for 4 times that amount of marijuana and an unknown amount of cash. Two products that can be burned up with a single matchstick was more important that the lives of four people! Unarmed and defenseless women and children!To add insult to injury, there was no marijuana or money. Gina Hunt told the shooter that the drugs and the money was gone, long gone. She begged for the lives of herself, her friend and their children. The shooter shot them anyway. 10 shots fired into the head and torso of 2 women, a toddler, and infant cowering in fear behind a bed. The words should not exist to describe a tragedy such as this one.Posted by Professor Tracey at 12:08 AM on AUNT JEMIMA’S REVENGE. ============================It may be like Faith says, that Julia’s husband, William Balfour, (they are so miss matched) actually followed through on his promise to kill her whole family, but why then haven’t the police charged him with anything? My guess is that Balfour got some of his friends or acquaintances to do it. They were looking for a big payoff in Jennifer Hudson’s house, and only found women and children – and of course Ms. Hudson’s brother who was hopelessly out gunned, if he had a gun at all!Until we change our NATIONAL PRIORITIES, 10 Billion /week for war and guns, and almost nothing for 30+ million poor children, this sort of thing will continue to happen!

  14. I know we all have to fight the domestic violence and murders, but how many of you smiiled and cheered when O.J. got off? Lots of you. A classic abuser/murderer got away with a double murder and I saw lots of people, men, women, and children standing and cheering. If they let this guy go after this current murder scene would you all be cheering? Why not? You all cheered back then. Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman were people too. Nobody thought about them when the verdict came and all the excitement swept through your communities. You get what yo upay for. Think about it.

  15. I didn’t cheer, brotherman. My jaw dropped to the floor watching OJ get off, and seeing those black college kids whooping it up. Many still think he didn’t do it. Such is life.

  16. It was the same with Scott Peterson, who killed his pregnant wife Lacey over one ChristmasHer name was Laci and Scott would have given his life to save his wife or his son. They were killed by another woman who wanted to steal the baby.

  17. I couldn’t agree more with this post, we as black people have got to stop making excuses for the violent men we encounter. My husband and I purchased a home in a “resurging” neighborhood, that means it used to be the ghetto ya’ll. Most of the homes on our block are renovated or brand new, a few are still original and badly neglected. A large family lives in one of these older homes and houses one of these “excused” young angry black men. I have personally watched him go balistic on more than one female outside this home, yelling and cursing so violently it might as well have been physical. One occassion I assume it was his babymama and another I believe a younger relative, in this instance he did actually slap her across the face, right in the middle of the street. In the babymama incident an older female relative came out and corralled him back into the house. During the incident where I witnessed actually get physical, I called the police, they arrive quickly but he had run away by that time–surprise, surprise. The officer told me there is male with a history of violence who lives at the residence who is wanted for non-payment of child support, but is always hidden away in the house (its an old victorian, 3 stories with who knows how many rooms) by his family members. Protected, made excuses for. This violent, immature, boy, hidden away by his family rather than held accountable for his actions and dodging his responsibilities. I told the officer I called because I couldn’t believe this boy thinks he can do what ever he wants, right in front of me no less, with no ramifications. Why would I allow that to go on just a few doors down and how could his family let it go on right under their roof? I only hope and pray that the situation on my street does not turn in something much worse.

  18. I can’t comment on voice of sanity’s alternative explanation of Laci Peterson’s murder, but Scott Peterson was certainly convicted on very slender evidence indeed. It beggars belief that a jury could come to the conclusion it did beyond reasonable doubt.

  19. all: OK, folks. I don’t mind you discussing the Peterson case, but this is a Jennifer Hudson/domestic violence thread. Not a thread theorizing whether Scott killed Laci or not. I’d really appreciate it if everyone stayed on topic, but if you want to use a forum set up for Jennifer Hudson’s tragedy to be about various theories on Scott’s innocence, I have to say, I think this isn’t the place for it. I’m not going to censor you or tell you not to post, but I think you’ve made your point considering this post has very little to do with the Peterson case.

  20. I agree this is a tragic situation and we do need to speak up about domestic violence and how families are in danger along with the person being abuse.Also, I do not agree with protecting a love one if he/she has done something wrong. To me,if you are guilty, family or not, I am not standing by your side. You will have to deal with the consequences on your own.Because people believe in standing up for a person when they are wrong, is why the world is the way it is. To me, I say it is hypocracy. No one really cares until it is done to his/her family.

  21. Then please don’t use Scott Peterson as an example of uxoricide. He is an example of how the media can pollute a case so badly that the truth is totally obscured and also of how police and prosecutors will ram a case to the conclusion they want and not to the truth. This can hardly be a new experience for the black community – far too many of those who were released after wrongful conviction have been black.

  22. Snob will probably shoot me for responding to the Peterson comment, but it never ceases to amaze me how certain criminals get gullible women to believe they’re innocent. Peterson gets tons of fan letters and OJ got groupies. Even Casey Anthony is getting donations while a pile of evidence is stacking against her. That’s why we get these weird jury verdicts. People process information in all kinds of funky ways.

  23. I’m sure the guy was very misunderstood. He probably is a great guy but with a difficult childhood! He just needs a time-out. Maybe they can give him another chance. Oh, sorry he killed them all.

  24. I’m sick of women sticking up for their sorry ass sons and sorry ass romantic partners. Why she is sticking up for her son is beyond me and disgusts me. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from her tree.

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