Hudson Family Murder Trial Begins: Jennifer Hudson Breaks Down on the Stand

Hudson Family Murder Trial Begins: Jennifer Hudson Breaks Down on the Stand

In a surprise move, Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson was called as the prosecution’s first witness in the Hudson family murder trial in Chicago. The award-winning singer and actress broke down and cried on the witness stand Monday as she recalled the brutal 2008 murders of her mother, brother and young nephew, allegedly at the hands of her jealous brother-in-law, William Balfour. “It was always me and my Tugga Bear,” she told jurors of her beloved 7-year-old nephew Julian King.

Balfour is accused of killing Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in the Southside Chicago home where the Hollywood star grew up. Balfour allegedly killed Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, in the living room, then shot her 29-year-old brother, Jason Hudson, twice in the head as he lay in bed. He then drove off with her sister’s son, Julian King, and later shot the boy, nicknamed “Juice Box,” in the head as he lay behind a front seat, authorities say.

It is anticipated that Jennifer Hudson will attend the entire trial. She was accompanied to court today by her fiancé, the professional wrestler David Otunga. Following her 30-minute testimony, she joined him in the fourth row of the courtroom.

Read more about the trial in The Chicago Tribune here.

Hudson Family Murder Trial Begins

Interview: Jury Expert Discusses Hudson Murder Trial

Jennifer Hudson: And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going

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An Intriguing Slice of Crooked Life: Gorgeous Vintage Mug Shots

First Degree Murder

Publicly Cavorting with a Group of Improper, if Very Alluring, Ladies

These Ladies!

Accused of Baby-Snatching

Public Indecency. To Wit, the Hair

Gold-Digging. And Subsequent Murder When Things Weren’t Happening Quickly Enough

We Have No idea What These Two Did, But We Sure Know Who the Ringleader Was

An Intriguing Slice of Crooked Life: Gorgeous Vintage Mug Shots

These solemn portraits are, in fact, vintage mug shots of old-time scallywags and scoundrels. They’re from a collection of beautifully candid mug shots found on the website of Australia’s Justice and Police Museum. The modern mug shot is seldom a work of art. Suspects are dragged into the police station and immediately photographed in whatever sorry state they happened to be in at the time they committed the crime, and the perfunctory snapshots are taken with no concern for lighting or style. In addition, they have to hold up those awful printed signs. How terribly cold and cruel our modern age! However, we had no idea how beautiful mug shots could be until we came across these gems. The photographs are haunting and resplendent in their depth, all weathered and written-on, and the faces of the criminals speak untold volumes. Click through the slide show for the best photographs of dirty old crooks you’ll ever see.

Vintage Mug Shots: Gods Gonna Cut You Down

Slide Show: An Intriguing Slice of Crooked Life/Gorgeous Vintage Mug Shots

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Frank DanCoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer

Frank DanCoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer

Frank DanCoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer is a  sparkly futuristic, wild and wacky eight-minute short film by writer/director/producer Andrew Jones, winner of the Best Short Award at the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival and the much coveted Brown Jenkin Award at the 2010 Hp Lovecraft Film Festival.

The time: The Future.  The place: Neo-Ultra-Mega-Tokyo.  Or maybe the time and place are really somewhere in a dark and dangerous back alley.  In this shimmering, shiny-yet-grimy world we discover Holly Malone, a reporter with ten times the daring and audacious spunk of the old Lois Lane, along with a powerful uterus for the news.  Her reporter instincts plus a very peculiar sense of taste has set her on the trail of the city’s legendary drug lord, Frank DanCoolo.  He’s the source of paranormal drugs which are ravaging society, that is if he really exists.  Molly is sure he does, and her journey to find DanCoolo leads her to unknown realities, terrifying secrets, flying katanas and some really righteous dope.

Frank DanCoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer

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Weegee: Remembering the American Photographer Who First Made Night Noir

Weegee: Remembering the American Photographer Who First Made Night Noir

Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee (1899-1968), was the son of an Austrian rabbi, who came with his family from Europe to New York City.  Independent-minded, for a time he aimlessly drifted around, did odd jobs and lived in the city’s flophouses.  Finally, he discovered photography, a revelation that transformed him into a man with an obsessive mission.  From the 1930’s through the mid-1940’s, Weegee was a freelance crime and street photographer for New York City tabloids, ceaselessly prowling inner-city streets during the graveyard shift.  He loved the darkest hours, because then he had the photographic turf all to himself, but also owing to the fact that the most evil of crimes are carried out at night, under the cover of darkness.

Always prepared, Weegee stalked the streets in a car equipped with a police radio, a typewriter, developing equipment, a supply of cigars and a change of underwear.  He was a one-man photo factory: he drove to a crime scene, took the pictures, developed the film in his car trunk and delivered finished the prints himself.  Weegee was well aware of social problems in the city, documenting the struggles of people living through the Depression, the sufferings of people who experienced segregation and violent racial bias attacks, and the hardships of indigent immigrants packed into already poverty-stricken, desolate and crime-ridden neighborhoods of the city, especially the Lower East Side.

Eventually, the glamor of Hollywood beckoned, and Weegee moved there in 1946, where he worked in the film industry as an actor, consultant and photographer.  He socialized  with big-name Hollywood stars and got small acting parts in films, but he never really felt like he fit into what he called “The Land of the Zombies” and moved back to Manhattan in 1951, where he lived until his death in 1968.

Weegee: The American Photographer Who First  Made Night Noir

Weegee Speaks About His Career in Photography

Weegee: A Tribute to Arthur Fellig

Slide Show: Weegee/The American Photographer Who First Made Night Noir

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Boy’s Body Found: Identified as Jennifer Hudson’s Missing Nephew

Boy’s Body Found: Very Likely Jennifer Hudson’s Missing Nephew

It was reported on Friday that the mother and brother of Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson were found shot to death inside her mother’s house on the South Side of Chicago on Friday afternoon, and that the police were said to be looking for her 7-year-old nephew. Police had confirmed that Ms. Hudson’s mother, Darnell Hudson Donerson, 57, was one of the victims, and that the other victim was identified as Ms. Hudson’s brother, Jason S. Hudson, 29.

The body of a young boy was found Monday morning on Chicago’s West Side. He was found inside a white SUV that is registered to Jennifer Hudson’s slain brother, Jason Hudson. The body was of a black boy, about 7 years-old. Although final identification of the boy had not been made, it is very likely that the child is 7-year-old Julian King.

Boy’s Body Found: Very Likely Hudson’s Missing Nephew

Update: Top FBI officials have confirmed that the body discovered in an SUV in Chicago is indeed that of Jennifer Hudson’s missing 7 year-old nephew, Julian King.

Chicago police brought Julian’s body to the medical examiner’s office shortly after noon today. Jennifer Hudson and other family members arrived about three hours later, said office spokesman Sean Howard. When the group entered a viewing room at the office Ms. Hudson held her head down, as if praying, he said. The family then identified Julian via a video screen mounted on a wall that showed his face. The family chose the video screen option rather than looking directly at the body, Howard said.

The family was “obviously distraught,” but Howard said Hudson “remained strong for her family. It was very clear she was the leader. She held hands with her family. It was obviously a very emotional moment.” When they saw the boy’s face on the screen, Hudson told investigators, “Yes, that is him,” Howard said.

Chicago Police Department: Body is Julian King, Ms. Hudson’s Nephew

Later News Reports and Community Reactions to Julian’s Murder

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Weegee: The Photography of Night Noir

Wegee’s World Under the Cover of Darkness: Life, Death and the Human Drama

Weegee’s (Arthur Fellig) peak period as a freelance crime and street photographer was like a whirlwind of perpetual motion, running from the mid-1930s into the postwar years. John Strausbaugh has described Weegee as a man who after discovering photography became a man with a mission, an obsession, an addiction. Weegee prowled the streets of New York City incessantly, non-stop during the graveyard shift, taking thousands of photographs that defined Manhattan as a film noir nightscape populated with hoodlums and gangsters, Bowery bums and slumming swells, tenement dwellers and victims of domestic brawls, fires and car crashes.

He chronicled Harlem, the Lower East Side, Coney Island and the police blotter. He liked nights because he had the photographic turf to himself but also because the best bad things happen at night, under the cover of darkness. Vandals make their mark, hit men practice their trade and people get crazy.

Like a dependable trooper, he was always prepared. He prowled the streets in a car that was outfitted with a police radio, a typewriter, developing equipment, a supply of cigars and a change of underwear. He was a one-man photo factory: he drove to a crime site; took pictures; developed the film, using the trunk as a darkroom; and delivered the prints.

Weegee captured the night in New York at a time when it was lonely and desolate and scary. He wanted to show that in New York City millions of people lived together in a state of total loneliness. Weegee photographed the city’s achievers, its homeless, its hard times, its festivities, its freaks, its victims, its politicians, its celebrities, its ethnic areas, its playgrounds and dumps, its posh avenues and mean streets.

He gave it an enduring nickname, The Naked City.

Weegee: The Photography of Night Noir

However, along with the lurid disasters of crime, fire and car crashes for which he was widely known, Weegee was also strong on documenting human interest subjects, especially related to the city’s social problems and its helpless sufferers. From the years of the Depression through World War II, New York was a rude, crude town. There was little heat in the winter and way too much in the summer. Immigrants poured into the city and there was barely enough room to hold them. Native-born workers felt the competition for jobs and space and resented the newcomers. The melting pot was in a constant boil. Weegee contributed sympathetic portraits of people who were existing at the outer margins of society, including the city’s homeless, impoverished immigrants on the Lower East Side, ethnic minorities suffering racial discrimination, and transsexuals and prostitutes. His images shed considerable light upon many of the concerns of urban American society that were festering just below the surface.

Weegee often strolled from his tiny second-floor single room, which was located on a narrow and drab block of tenement buildings, over to the Bowery for both work and relaxation, usually at Sammy’s Bowery Follies. From 1934 to 1970, Sammy’s attracted what The New York Times once described as a mixed crowd of “drunks and swells, drifters and celebrities, the rich and the forgotten.” Weegee was closely attuned to the erotic excitement of the low life, so at Sammy’s, where entertainers past their prime sang for customers past theirs, he memorialized with his photographs the performers’ expanded waists, multiplying chins and rolled stockings with money tucked inside.

Weegee, who disparaged The New York Times as a newspaper for the “well-off Manhattan establishment,” called Sammy’s “the poor man’s Stork Club” and wrote in the PM newspaper in 1944: “There’s no cigarette girl, a vending machine puts out cigarettes for a penny apiece. There’s no hatcheck girl, patrons prefer to dance with their hats and coats on. But there is a lulu of a floor show.” He was quite drawn to glamour and the allure of exotic beauty, but he despised socialites and their social register concerns and matters. He loved to use his photography to embarrass the rich, making them look like freaks.

In 1945, Weegee published Naked City and soon thereafter moved to Hollywood, where he served as a consultant on the film made from his book and even played some minor film roles. In 1946, after the huge success of his book, he announced that he was through with news photography and was no longer interested in the seamy side of New York. However, his career in Hollywood as an actor and consultant essentially went nowhere, and he never really fit into what he called “The Land of the Zombies.” He returned to Manhattan in 1951 and until his death in 1968 eked out a meager living by hawking his books and films, taking girlie pictures, consulting on special effects for filmmakers (mainly in Europe) and selling reprints of those remarkable news pictures that he no longer took.

Weegee: Watchman of the Night

Slide Show: Weegee/The Photography of Night Noir

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