BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (STMW) — Seven jurors were picked Tuesday in the murder trial of a former Orland Park man accused of killing his wife in 2010, with jury selection continuing Wednesday.
Six women and one man were selected behind closed doors from a pool of more than 70 potential jurors at the Cook County courthouse in Bridgeview. Earlier Tuesday, the judge and attorneys on both sides met in private with 37 prospective jurors who said they had some familiarity with the case — either through reading or hearing media reports about it.
Prosecutors say Allan Kustok killed his wife with a powerful .357-caliber revolver that he gave her several weeks earlier for their 34th anniversary. He allegedly fired a single shot at Anita “Jeanie” Kustok’s head while she lay sleeping on the morning of Sept. 29, 2010 in their bedroom at their house in Orland Park.
The judge said the trial is expected to take two weeks.
Wearing a dark suit and white shirt, Kustok said, “morning, ladies and gentlemen,” to the potential jurors after prosecution and defense attorneys introduced themselves.
Kustok’s daughter, Sarah, and son, Zak, have been subpoenaed to testify. Sarah was in court Tuesday with her attorney, Pete Rush.
Zak is a former star quarterback at Sandburg High School and Northwestern University, and Sarah is a sportscaster in New York who earned All-Area honors in basketball and volleyball at Sandburg and was a top basketball player for DePaul University.
Kustok told police on the day of his wife’s death that he awoke to a gunshot and found her lying dead on her back with her hands across her chest, the gun held in her right hand. He said he was overcome with grief and briefly considered committing suicide with the gun but fired its remaining bullets into an armoire in the bedroom to void shooting himself.
After shooting his wife, Kustok waited about 90 minutes before he rolled her body up in a robe and bedsheets and drove to Palos Community Hospital, according to police.
The prosecution has indicated 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. Circuit Court Judge John Hynes last week ruled that the woman will have to identify themselves in court, denying a motion by the state that they be identified only by their initials.
Kustok’s lawyers failed to get the woman’s testimony barred, arguing that nothing they will say will establish a motive for Anita Kustok’s death. His attorneys also are expected to call women to the stand who will say Kustok told them that his marriage wasn’t troubled.
Anita Kustok was about a month shy of her 59th birthday when she died. She taught math and reading to gifted students at Central Elementary School in Riverside.
Kustok has been held on $2 million bail at the Kankakee County Jail for the 31/2 years since his arrest. He was incarcerated there because he formerly worked at Cook County Jail and was familiar with its operations and staff, authorities said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)