Kadner: Witness says Kustok ‘not really’ married
By Phil Kadner firstname.lastname@example.org February 24, 2014 8:34PM
Updated: March 26, 2014 6:27AM
Less than two months before Anita “Jeanie” Kustok died from a gunshot wound to the head on Sept. 29, 2010, her husband, Allan, tried to kiss and “fondle” a woman in Chicago, the woman testified Monday at Kustok’s murder trial.
Earlier in the day, an emergency room nurse, under cross-examination by the defense, said that while standing a few feet away and watching Kustok disrobe, she failed to notice his T-shirt, which had a large blood stain.
Bonnie Gross, a Realtor with homes in Chicago and Florida, testified that she and a girlfriend were seated in the outdoor patio of Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse in Chicago on Aug. 4, 2010, when they noticed a man staring at Gross and pacing back and forth across the street. Gross said her girlfriend told her “that guy has the hots for you,” and a short time later he walked across the street and introduced himself.
It was Kustok, Gross said, and he asked if he could join them. Gross said she remembered saying to her friend that the man looked like Bill Clinton.
The woman agreed to let him join them, and he spent about two hours drinking and dining with them, said Gross, whose husband had died a couple of months before that meeting.
After they finished their meal, Kustok asked if he could walk Gross home (a distance of about a block), and upon arriving at her condominium Kustok “tried to kiss me good night” and “tried to fondle me,” Gross told the jury.
She said she rejected his amorous overtures but gave him her telephone number and agreed to meet with him for dinner the next day at Rosebud Steakhouse, another swanky Rush Street restaurant. They arrived separately, and Gross noticed that Kustok was wearing a wedding ring, which she had not noticed the previous day.
“I said, ‘You’re married,’ and he said, ‘Yes, but not really,’” Gross testified.
She said he told her that it wasn’t really a marriage, but they stayed together for the sake of the children.
“They were getting a divorce,” Gross said Kustok told her.
When Gross said she was uncomfortable being seen in public with a married man, Kustok took his wedding ring off, she told jurors.
She said she decided she “was really done with him” at that time but still agreed to meet him for lunch the next day, Aug. 6, when he asked to take her to her favorite hot dog place, the Wieners Circle, 2622 N. Clark St., in Chicago.
Kustok picked her up in a white sport utility vehicle and got very “touchy feely” in the car, Gross testified. She said he ”tried putting some moves on me,” which she described as “sexual advances,” and kept trying to kiss her.
She decided not to see him again and refused to take his phone calls, Gross said, but she saw him several times afterward walking around the neighborhood near her condominium complex.
At one point, she asked him what he was doing there and he told her he was calling on a doctor (Kustok was a salesman for a medical supply company). But Gross said she found the claim lacking credibility because it was a Saturday.
Defense attorneys did their best to undermine Gross, asking her why she did not volunteer her information after her girlfriend told her in October 2010 that Kustok had been accused of his wife’s murder. Police detectives contacted Gross after finding her number in Kustok’s cellphone.
Gross said her husband had died a few months earlier and she didn’t want to get involved in a murder investigation because she had enough emotional turmoil in her life.
The defense also demanded to know why she went out with Kustok for lunch if she had decided “she was done with him,” and she explained it was “just lunch,” which she apparently did not consider a date.
I thought she stood up pretty well under cross-examination.
I can’t say the same for Patricia Fleming, a Palos Community Hospital ER nurse on duty the morning Kustok drove his dead wife’s body to the hospital.
Fleming was assigned to watch Kustok undress in an ER room because he was under a suicide watch. She said her job was to look for any indication of bodily injury or a weapon on Kustok.
Standing within a few feet of him, while holding a hospital gown in front of Kustok, Fleming told the jury that she never saw a large blood stain on a T-shirt Kustok was wearing.
The gray T-shirt had a blood stain that extended from beneath the right armpit down the side about six inches and from the back of the shirt across the front, according to photos introduced as evidence and that have been prominently featured during the prosecution’s case.
But Fleming said she didn’t remember seeing the stain, although she insisted she watched Kustok disrobe until he was naked.
If a nurse was looking for a potential self-inflicted injury, you would think she would have noticed such a thing and said, “What the heck is that?”
Prosecutors said Fleming told police that Kustok described himself as a “party guy,” but the defense objected and the judge agreed the statement was not admissible.
A Cook County evidence technician also was called by the prosecution, and his testimony was confusing to those of us used to TV crime drama.
He bagged up a bloody pillow case, blood-stained sheet, blanket and night shirt that arrived with Anita’s body at the hospital, placed them in separate evidence bags and then handed them over to Orland Park police officers at the hospital. He said the bloody items were still wet and had to be dried out at the police station before delivery to a crime lab.
Under cross-examination, it became unclear where the items were placed to dry out, who cut the evidence bags open or who protected the chain of custody.
The evidence technician also testified that placing several items in one bag (as was done with the blood-stained clothes Kustok took off in the hospital ER) would result in cross-contamination of the evidence.
That prosecution witness seemed to help the defense.