Updated: March 19, 2014 6:19AM
As the murder trial of Allan Kustok gets underway Tuesday with jury selection, one fact is not in dispute: A revolver he gave his wife several weeks earlier for their 34th anniversary was used to kill her.
Cook County prosecutors say it was Kustok who held the powerful .357-caliber revolver and fired a single shot at his wife’s head while she lay sleeping on the morning of Sept. 29, 2010, in their bedroom at their house in Orland Park.
His lawyers likely will point to Kustok’s statement to police that he awoke to a gunshot and found his wife, Anita “Jeanie” Kustok, lying dead on her back with her hands across her chest, the gun held in her right hand.
Overcome with grief, Kustok briefly considered turning the gun on himself, but instead, to eliminate the temptation, fired the remaining rounds into an armoire in the bedroom, he told authorities.
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 will attempt to show that Kustok wanted out of his marriage and was involved in extramarital trysts with women whom he had told that he wanted a divorce.
Jurors in Circuit Court Judge John Hynes’ courtroom in Bridgeview will hear those women testify. The judge last week denied a motion by prosecutors that the women’s identities be safeguarded by allowing just their initials to be used.
Kustok’s lawyers unsuccessfully sought to have their 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.
He is the father of Zak Kustok, a former star quarterback at Sandburg High School and Northwestern University, and Sarah Kustok, a sportscaster who earned All-Area honors in basketball and volleyball at Sandburg and was a standout for DePaul University’s women’s basketball team.
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.
Also likely to be a contentious issue during the trial is the potential testimony for the state of Paul Englert, a blood-splatter expert and crime scene reconstructionist, who compiled reports based on recreations of the crime scene in October and December 2010.
At a hearing last week, Rick Beuke, one of Kustok’s lawyers, contended that the second recreation — conducted in a garage at Orland Park police headquarters — was set up specifically to “fit their (prosecution’s) theory” of what happened.
Kustok has been held on $2 million bail at the Kankakee County Jail for the 31/2 years it has taken to bring him to trial.
He was held there because he formerly worked at Cook County Jail and was familiar with its operation and staff, authorities said. Kustok will be held at Cook County Jail during the trial.