Allan Kustok

The sentencing for Allan Kustok was delayed for more than a month as Kustok’s lawyers last week filed two motions, including one for a new trial, during a brief appearance at the Bridgeview courthouse.

Kustok was found guilty last month of murdering his wife Anita “Jeanie” Kustok, a popular teacher in Riverside Elementary School District 96.

Richard Beuke, Kustok’s lawyer, filed a 24-page motion for a new trial, arguing that Judge John Hynes made numerous errors in his rulings during the trail. Beuke also filed a separate motion asking that a chemical test be performed on one of the pillowcases taken from the Kustok home soon after Jeanie Kustok was shot on Sept. 29, 2010.

The sodium rhodizonate test would determine whether there was lead on the pillowcase, which could shed light on how close the gun was to the pillow when it was fired, the motion argues. The defense had asked that the test be performed during the trial, but Judge Hynes denied the motion, saying it was improper to conduct the test during the trial.

The test would focus on black marks on one of the pillow cases which the prosecution’s main expert testified was likely to be from coagulated blood. If the test determined the black spots resulted from the discharge of a gun, that would support the defense’s suggestion that the gun was closer to Jeanie Kustok than the expert believed and support the defense’s contention that she shot herself.

“If the dark stain … does indeed contain lead, it significantly raises the possibility that the stain was caused by gunfire, and has the potential to significantly advance the defendant’s claim that he did not fire the shot that killed Mrs. Kustok,” the defense motion states.

The defense argued that it could not have performed the five-minute chemical test before the trial, because prosecutors did not make a photograph of the stained pillow case available to defense attorneys before or during the trial.

In its motion for a new trial, the defense argues that Judge Hynes made numerous rulings that were incorrect and hampered the defense in its attempt to undermine the prosecution’s case.  

Since it seems unlikely that Judge Hynes would suddenly have a change of heart and find that the rulings he made during the trial were incorrect, it is likely that the defense motions are designed to establish grounds for an appeal.

Judge Hynes will hear arguments on the motions May 22 in Room 101 at the Bridgeview courthouse. Hynes also set a new sentencing date of May 29. Kustok faces a sentence of 40 years to life.