Sarah Kustok, at the Bridgeview courthouse after testifying in March in her father's murder trial. | Chandler West/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 12, 2014 6:09AM
Former Comcast SportsNet Chicago reporter Sarah Kustok testified Monday that her father was wrong for carrying on a series of extramarital affairs. But when prosecutors asked, point blank, if her father was capable of killing her mother, Kustok responded: “Absolutely not.”
During emotional testimony in defense of her father, Allan Kustok, who is on trial for murder at the Bridgeview courthouse, Sarah Kustok said she did not know about her dad’s extramarital affairs until after the September 2010 shooting death of her mother, Anita “Jeanie” Kustok.
“I do not condone that. I find it wrong,” Sarah Kustok said. “But, no, it does not change” her opinion on whether he killed her mother.
The prosecution contends Allan Kustok, 63, a former medical supplies salesman and serial philanderer, was driven to kill his wife to escape a financially troubled and unhappy marriage.
Allan Kustok’s defense attorneys insist Jeanie Kustok shot herself in the early morning hours with a .357 magnum handgun while Allan Kustok slept next to her.
Prosecutors asked Sarah Kustok what she thought about the fact that her father never called 911.
“I, to be honest, have not thought about that,” she testified. “I can’t put myself in his shoes.”
When Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Gonzalez asked her: “Have you ever asked your dad why he did not call 911?”
Kustok, who now covers the Brooklyn Nets for Yes Network, responded: “No.”
When asked if her mother owned the revolver that took her life — which the defense says Allan Kustok gave his wife as an anniversary present — Sarah Kustok said that she was not aware of her mother owning a gun.
She also pushed back against a characterization of her father, suggested by some prosecution witnesses, that Allan Kustok ruled the family as a decision-making patriarch.
Choking back tears, and sometimes speaking inaudibly, Sarah Kustok said her parents fostered “the most loving, supportive household that I could imagine.”
Her parents “did everything together,” Sarah Kustok said. Often that involved driving all over the country to attend her basketball games when she played for DePaul women’s basketball team.
“Driving to Toledo or Tallahassee … they did not miss a single game,” Sarah Kustok testified.
The night before her mother’s death, Sarah Kustok said she exchanged a series of text messages with her father while she worked a White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field. They made plans to eat pizza the following night, she said.
More importantly, she told her father about the birthday gift she was arranging for her mother: a recorded birthday greeting from White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham — Jeanie Kustok’s favorite player.
“I knew my mom would love it,” Sarah Kustok said.
But the following morning, her mother was dead and her father was detained by Orland Park police detectives, who suspected him of murder.
While Sarah Kustok and several family members have testified that they do not believe Jeanie Kustok kept a gun for home protection, several teachers who worked with Jeanie Kustok testified otherwise.
The two former co-workers of the slain Orland Park woman were unknown to prosecutors until this weekend. And theirs was the first testimony in the trial indicating that Jeanie Kustok was aware that there was a gun in the house.
Erin Feldman testified Monday that she was certain that she heard Jeanie Kustok say she was not afraid when her husband took an out-of-town trip because, “‘We have a gun.’” The second teacher, Patricia Dost, confirmed that she heard Jeanie Kustok say that during the same conversation.
The defense rested its case early Monday afternoon without Allan Kustok testifying in his own defense.
Contributing: Phil Kadner