Accused Wife-Killer's Trial Begins in Bridgeview

Allan Kustok maintains his wife, Anita Kustok, shot herself on the morning of Sept. 29, 2010

The trial of an Orland Park man accused of fatally shooting his wife as she slept began Friday with lurid claims of extra-marital affairs.

Allan Kustok, 63, is accused of killing his wife, Anita "Jeanie" Kustok, in the face with a .357-caliber revolver that he gave her several weeks earlier for their 34th wedding anniversary. Kustok maintains he found his wife the morning of Sept. 29, 2010 with her arms folder over her body and the revolver in her right hand.

In opening arguments Friday, prosecutors laid out a list of affairs Kustok allegedly had that were arranged on a web site designed for married people in search of those types of relationships. Kustok was lamenting the state of his marriage to one woman and promising a future to another, according to prosecutors.

But defense attorneys say Jeannie Kustok shot herself, and when her husband awoke to find her body, he waited an hour to take her to the hospital because he wanted to hold his dead wife one final time.

They painted a picture of the perfect marriage that began with love at first sight when the two were still in college, but they also said when the 58-year-old woman went into menopause, she stopped having sex with her husband, which forced him into the affairs.

The trial is being heard before Cook County Circuit Court Judge John Hynes in Bridgeview. Opening statements were expected Thursday but were put on hold after a defense attorney slipped and fell on ice and needed to visit an emergency room.

A woman who said she works as a stand-up comedian and private investigator, and who would not be available to testify later due to a commitment out of the country, testified Thursday that she had a brief affair with Kustok in the months before his wife's death.

Antoinette Kregelka's testimony was recorded on video so it could be shown to jurors at a later date. The prosecution has indicated that it plans to call as witnesses several women whom it contends had extramarital affairs with Kustok as it tries to show that he was unhappy in his marriage and wanted a divorce.

Jeanie Kustok was a teacher at Central Elementary School in Riverside and the mother of former Northwestern University quarterback Zak Kustok and sports journalist Sarah Kustok (Disclosure: Sarah Kustok is a former fill-in sports reporter for NBC Chicago).

Crime scene reconstructionist Rod Englert cast doubt Wednesday on the widower's explanation that his wife shot herself. The former homicide detective in Portland, Ore., said he concluded that Kustok likely stood next to the bed and pointed the revolver at his wife’s left cheek. He based his conclusion in part on blood spatters on the couple’s bed and pillows and on Kustok’s clothing.

Based on the bullet’s path, Englert said it was not possible for Jeanie to have held the gun in her right hand and shoot herself on the left side of her face. He said it was possible she could have used both hands to fire the weapon but would have had to use both thumbs to push back on the trigger.

Even if she had shot herself, Englert said it was "not probable" that Jeanie would have died with the gun still in her hand and her arms across her chest, describing that as a "very unusual, abnormal position."

Laura Morask, one of Kustok’s attorneys, suggested that Englert, in conducting the recreations, set up scenarios that buttressed the prosecution’s theory of Anita’s death.

Englert said "we tried everything" to test various scenarios.

Morask said Anita wanted the gun for protection because her husband frequently traveled on business.

Sarah and Zak Kustok have both been subpoenaed and may take the stand in the father's defense.

"In the image of their mother, Jeanie, Sarah and Zak are going to stand behind their father throughout the course of his ordeal, and will stand by with him until the end," the pair said in a joint 2010 statement.

Zak is a former star quarterback at Sandburg High School and Northwestern University. Sarah currently works for the Brooklyn Nets and starred in basketball and volleyball at Sandburg and was a top basketball player for DePaul University.

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