Did Allan Kustok lead a secret life that ultimately led him to shoot his wife Jeanie to death? Or was he the adoring husband of 34 years who looked forward to joining his daughter in planning a birthday surprise for his wife?
Did the philandering Orland Park man buy that gun as an anniversary present for his wife, as he's told police, so she could protect herself? And if so, why did she never tell members of her family about the weapon?
Opening statements were made Friday in the trial of Kustok, accused in the 2010 murder of his wife. Defense attorney Rick Beuke said the couple's daughter, sports reporter Sarah Kustok, will testify that she and her dad were texting about plans for a birthday surprise for Anita "Jeanie" Kustok the night of Sept. 28, 2010 — the night she died.
Beuke said testimony of family and friends will make it clear that the Kustoks were a loving couple in an "absolutely perfect marriage" despite the husband's repeated infidelities.
Prosecutors allege that Kustok was anything but the happy husband and was looking for a way out of his marriage when he shot his 58-year-old wife in the head the morning of Sept. 29, and then wrapped her body in sheets and drove her to Palos Community Hospital, claiming he awoke from the bed they shared to find her bloody body and the powerful handgun still in her grip.
Beuke called that handgun "Jeanie's protector," a gift Allan purchased for her in 2009 because she "worried excessively" about being alone in the house. Jeanie Kustok's younger brother, John Runko, however, testified on Friday that his sister never mentioned owning a gun.
Runko said he and his sister would talk every week and he's certain she would have told him about a gun if she had one. "She wouldn't know what to do with one," he said.
While the defense plans to put Sarah Kustok on the stand to talk about her dad, prosecutors intend to question several women bedded by Allan Kustok, some of whom claim they were told he planned to seek a divorce. Jurors already got a taste of such illicit dalliances Thursday when a Michigan woman, a standup comic and private detective, took the stand and offered details of her own one-night stand with the accused wife killer.
Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Lorna Amado-Chevlin in her opening remarks said Kustok “fooled everyone” in his circle of family and friends, but the women will give jurors “a glimpse into this defendant’s motive and state of mind.”
Beuke allowed that Kustok had many affairs after his wife lost interest in sex.
"I don't know what that has to do with anything," Beuke said. "That's the last desperate act of (the prosecution) to make you think he is a bad man."
Opening arguments were delayed for a while Friday when a juror was excused with a family emergency. But after proceedings got under way, the prosecution told the jury Kustok's version of the events of the night Jeanie died were "absurd."
He claimed he found his wife in bed, next to him, her arms crossed over her chest, the powerful handgun still in her hand even though a bullet had been shot through her head. Allan Kustok then waited before bringing his wife to the hospital, Amado-Chevlin said.
"For more than an hour, he did nothing to save Jeannie," she told jurors. "For an hour he kept her to himself and prepared himself to take her to the hospital.“Jeanie did not deserve the death that this defendant chose for her.”
Coverage of the trial will resume next week.
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