An attorney trying to win a new trial for Allan Kustok, convicted in March of murdering his wife while she slept at the couple’s Orland Park home, said Wednesday that results of a recent test will help his case.
A test on a pillowcase that was on the couple’s bed shows traces of lead, indicating gunshot residue, Rick Beuke said. The pillowcase was tested last month at the Illinois State Police crime lab in Joliet, and the lawyer said the results could refute the prosecution’ version on how Anita “Jeanie” Kustok died.
A Cook County jury on March 11 convicted Kustok of first-degree murder in the September 2010 death of his wife, but he contends that prosecutors did not prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and that physical evidence, including gunshot residue and bloodstain patterns, was inconclusive.
Prosecutors said Allan Kustok pulled the trigger of a .357 Magnum handgun he held just inches from wife’s head as she slept in the bedroom of the couple’s Orland Park.
Defense attorneys suggested that Anita Kustok fired the bullet that took her life, perhaps by accident. During the trial, the defense argued that because her husband’s job in sales often kept him away from home, Anita Kustok kept the gun, which they said Allan gave her as a gift, for protection.
Beuke, after a brief court hearing on the Kustok case on Wednesday, said the lead is on a pillowcase that covered a pillow that was underneath another pillow that Anita Kustok’s head had been resting on when she was shot.
The bullet that killed her was found inside the pillow directly beneath her head. A third pillow was below the one that was tested.
Beuke said he just received reports detailing the test results and hadn’t yet had a chance to study them closely. But he said that at first blush the test results suggest “that pillowcase had to be in the vicinity of the gun when it was fired,” which he said could support the defense theory of how Kustok died and refute the prosecution’s version.
Lawyers are due back in court July 28, and Cook County Circuit Court Judge John Hynes hasn’t yet ruled on other portions of the defense demand for a new trial.