The lawyer for Allan Kustok says that the results of a post-trial chemical test on a pillowcase support his motion for the new trial for his client, who was convicted in March of murdering his wife Anita “Jeanie” Kustok, who was a teacher in Riverside Elementary School District 96.
Kustok’s sentencing has been delayed as his lawyers filed a motion for new trial. After the trial, the prosecution withdrew its objection to a test that the defense had asked to be done in the middle of the trial. Judge John Hynes, who presided over the trial, had sustained that objection during the trial.
On July 2 at a brief hearing in the same Bridgeview courtroom where Kustok was found guilty, the results of the chemical test were delivered to both the prosecution and the defense. The test was performed on a part of one pillowcase that prosecution expert witness Rod Englert testified was covered in coagulated blood.
Kustok attorney Richard Beuke said in court on July 2 that the test performed by the Illinois State Police Crime Lab indicated the presence of lead on the pillowcase. Prosecutor Jennifer Gonzalez shot back that the test indicated the presence of both blood and lead.
The defense maintains that the presence of lead, or soot, indicates that the gun that fired the bullet that killed Jeanie Kustok on Sept. 29, 2010 was closer to her than Englert contended, which could support the defense’s theory that Jeanie Kustok either accidently shot herself or committed suicide.
“We’ve had an oral confirmation that the spot on the area that was tested identified as probably lead,” Beuke said. “I’m assuming the meaning of that result is critical, because it completely refutes the opinion of their expert as to how the event occurred. It clearly suggests that the pillowcase had to be in the vicinity of where the gun was.”
Beuke maintained that if jurors had been told that lead was found on the pillowcase their verdict could have been different.
“It is clearly the type of evidence that warrants a new trial,” Beuke said.
The prosecutors declined to comment after the hearing, which lasted less than five minutes.
The findings of the crime lab will now be examined by experts for both sides. The next court date is July 28, where a date for arguments on the motion for a new trial will likely be set.
Hynes encouraged the lawyers to work as quickly as they could.
“I’d like to get this done before I’m eligible for Social Security,” Hynes said.