It took a Cook County jury of six men and six women less than two hours Tuesday afternoon to find Allan Kustok guilty of murdering his wife, Anita “Jeanie” Kustok, a much-loved teacher of gifted children at Central School in Riverside and Hollywood School in Brookfield.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” said Jeanie Kustok’s brother, John Runko, at a brief press conference held by the prosecution team in a hallway at the Bridgeview courthouse after the verdict was announced. “We lost a great sister. Nobody wins with this, but I’m just glad that justice has been served.”
Runko was the first witness in the trial, which lasted for 12 days over three weeks. Runko and his sister, Patti Krcmery, attended every day of the trail, sitting in the first row of seats behind the prosecution table. Jeanie’s Kustok’s other sister flew in from Arizona to attend the last week of the trial.
Jurors didn’t buy the defense’s suggestion, rarely specifically articulated during the trial, that Jeanie Kustok either accidently shot herself or committed suicide on the morning of Sept. 29, 2010.
Lead prosecutor Jennifer Gonzalez said she spoke to jurors after the verdict was announced in Judge John Hynes’s courtroom just after 3 p.m.
“They felt in the end that the defense argument was just kind of unbelievable,” Gonzalez said at the press conference.
According to Gonzalez, jurors said the angle of the bullet that tore through Jeanie’s Kustok’s face convinced them that she didn’t shoot herself. The bullet entered her left cheek and exited at a downward angle just below her right ear.
A medical examiner testified during the trial that marks on her eyelids indicated that Kustok was sleeping when she was shot.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez thanked the prosecution team.
“We are pleased with the verdict and believe that justice has been served,” Alvarez said at the press conference. “We heard a lot about Mrs. Kustok and what a beautiful person she was inside and out.”
Defense attorneys left the courthouse without commenting.
Allan Kustok, 63, was convicted of first-degree murder and faces a sentence of 45 years to life, Alvarez said. Sentencing is set for April 17.
The Kustoks were married for 34 years and it appeared to be a perfect marriage until the morning of Sept. 29, 2010. At the trial prosecutors presented evidence from two women who had sex with Allan Kustok, including one woman, a lawyer who lived close to the Kustok home, who testified that she had a nearly five-year long affair with Allan Kustok.
Allan Kustok also frequented a web site designed for married people seeking affairs and met some women through that site including a Riverside woman who met him for drinks two days before Jeanie Kustok was killed.
Runko said his sister would never kill herself.
“I know my sister would never shoot herself,” Runko said. “She wouldn’t have left her mother, who was alive at the time, and she never would have left her children.”
Krcmery said that she was glad that the trial showed the kind of person that her sister Jeanie was.
“The trial showed my sister and how wonderful she was,” Krcmery said.
This story has been changed to correct the spelling of John Runko Patti Krcmery’s names.