Jennifer Hudson and William Balfour
Michael Buckner/Getty; Landov
07/24/2012 at 03:20 PM EDT
Described by the judge as possessing a soul "as barren as dark space," William Balfour was sentenced Tuesday to three life sentences for the 2008 murders
of Jennifer Hudson
's mother, brother and nephew.
"You have the heart of an arctic night," Cook County Circuit Judge Charles Burns told Hudson's former brother-in-law during the sentencing in a Chicago courtroom.
Hudson, the first witness
at the trial, sat in court next to her sister – Balfour's former wife and the mother of the youngest victim, 7-year-old Julian King – and dabbed her eyes with a tissue.
In a brief statement, Balfour, 31, who was convicted in May
, said, "My deepest prayers goes out to Julian King."
"I loved him," he said. "I still love him. I'm innocent, your honor."
The judge later responded, "The fact that you can stand in court and tell us you love that child is an insult to all of us."