BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (STMW) — While Orland Park detectives peppered Allan Kustok with questions about the shooting death of his wife, several text messages from a potential paramour were sent to his cellphone, requesting an extramarital rendezvous.
Those three texts went unanswered, Kathleen Rettke, who sent the messages, told a Cook County jury Tuesday at Kustok’s murder trial.
But they didn’t go unread, court testimony revealed at the Bridgeview courthouse.
By the time Rettke sent her last message, Kustok’s cellphone had been seized by investigators, and he was suspected in the fatal shooting of his wife, Anita “Jeanie” Kustok, at their suburban Orland Park home on Sept. 29, 2010.
Instead of hearing from Kustok, Rettke received a visit at a business event from detectives who questioned her about the text messages. They told her that Kustok’s wife had died earlier that day, according to court testimony.
Rettke “was shocked, but did not suspect Allan,” detectives wrote in their report of the meeting, according to court testimony.
The detectives asked Rettke about her relationship with Kustok, she said in court.
She testified that she met Kustok through ashleymadison.com, a hookup website for married people. Her testimony Tuesday was the latest effort by prosecutors to portray Kustok as a philanderer, driven to kill his longtime wife to escape an unhappy marriage.
About a week before his wife’s death, Kustok had expressed his interest in Rettke by sending her a virtual “wink” on the website — slightly more flirtatious than a “poke” on the social media site Facebook.
“It’s a kind of way for someone to say, ‘Hey, I’m interested,’ ” Rettke explained to the jury.
After she responded to his “wink,” the two met at a bar downtown during some downtime she had between work and picking up her kids from a religious education course, said Rettke, who is married.
They had at least one drink at a bar near a Metra station. Then Kustok offered — and she accepted — a ride to her vehicle, which was parked near a train station in Riverside and she went home, Rettke said.
When asked if she had had a sexual relationship with Kustok, she said “No” emphatically.
Another witness called by the prosecution, Jeanie Kustok’s sister, Patricia Krcmery, said Jeanie was a pious and cheerful woman. Krcmery said Jeanie would not likely commit suicide, let alone own the high-power .357 caliber handgun, which Allan Kustok told police she used to kill herself.
“I never knew her to have a gun,” said Krcmery, who added that Jeanie Kustok was planning a surprise birthday party for her at the time.
Her sister also likely did not know about Allan Kustok’s infidelity, Krcmery said.
“She did not know,” Krcmery said. “If she did, she would have run.”
Throughout the trial, the defense has hammered on the minutiae of investigators’ evidence-collection practices, suggesting impropriety and error in the way it was gathered.
Kustok’s defense team seized on the testimony of Orland Park Det. Larry Davids, who told jurors that he conducted a lengthy interview with Kustok but did not write up his findings in a formal police report.
Kustok allegedly told Davids that he awoke to a loud boom and saw his wife in bed next to him with a gunshot wound to the head, clutching the large-caliber revolver to her chest.
Davids testified that he was ordered not to write a police report about the interview with Kustok at the hospital, where he took his wife’s body. Instead, Davids said he was instructed to turn in his handwritten notes to his boss, Cmdr. John Keating.
Defense attorney Rick Beuke went ballistic.
Allan Kustok told you that he “held [Jeanie Kustok] in the bed knowing she was dead. He looked you in the eye and said, ‘My wife would never hurt herself,’ ” Beuke said, his voice rising. “And [Keating] told you do not put that stuff in a report?”
Testimony will continue Wednesday.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)