Convicted killer’s hearing for new trial pushed back to Friday
BY STEVE METSCH Sun-Times Media July 28, 2014 11:36PM
Allan Kustok, left, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Anita "Jeanie" Kustok.
Former Orland Park resident Allan Kustok was back in court Monday for a brief appearance related to his request for a new trial, but the matter was continued until Friday when a hearing is expected to be set on the motion.
In March, a Cook County jury found Kustok guilty of first-degree murder in the September 2010 death of his wife, Anita “Jeanie” Kustok, in their house in Orland Park. He still awaits sentencing and faces at least 45 years in prison.
Dressed in orange overalls, wearing eyeglasses and with his white hair cropped short, Kustok, 63, stood silently Monday during his five minutes before the judge at the county courthouse in Bridgeview.
Attorney Laura Morask said the defense team plans to have more testing done by a crime lab expert on a pillowcase in an attempt to show that the .357 Magnum handgun that killed Jeanie Kustok could have been fired by accident.
“The [recent] test showed there was lead on the pillowcase,” Morask said. “The crime lab person, if she uses the original gun with the original bullets, may be able to determine distance” between the gun and the victim.
“One of the ways you’d get concentrated lead is if the gun is on the pillowcase, and the reason that makes a difference is that’s consistent with the defense theory that it [shooting] was an accidental discharge,” she said.
The defense indicated previously that the lead is on a pillowcase that covered a pillow that was underneath another pillow that Jeanie Kustok’s head was 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.
Kustok gave the large handgun to his wife for protection because he was often away from home in his sales job, according to the defense.
“We’re asking Friday for the potential order to do [additional testing], and we’ll have a date for a hearing, regardless, for a new trial,” Morask said. “We need to have further conversations with the lab person. The testing was favorable” for the defense.
The defense argues that the physical evidence, including the gunshot residue and bloodstain pattern, was inconclusive. In the trial, the defense team suggested that Jeanie Kustok fired the bullet that took her life in the couple’s bedroom, perhaps by accident.
The defense also seeks to compel disclosure of the notes of a DNA expert who supplied information to the state about the pillowcase.
“She [expert] was present during all the testing, the gathering of evidence, when they [prosecution] did the re-enactment” of the shooting, Morask said. “Based on these new [test] results, I think her notes become even more important.”
Contributing: Mike Nolan