Almost nine months to the day after he was convicted of murdering his wife, 63-year-old Allan Kustok was sentenced on Dec. 10 to 60 years in prison.
In March, a jury took less than two hours to find Kustok guilty of murdering his wife Anita “Jeanie” Kustok, who was a popular teacher of gifted students at Central and Hollywood schools in Riverside.
After a trial that lasted 12 days, Kustok was found guilty of murdering his wife as she lay in bed, probably sleeping, according to the medical examiner’s testimony, during the early morning hours of Sept. 29, 2010.
Prior to being sentenced by Judge John J. Hynes at the Bridgeview courthouse, Kustok, dressed in an orange jail jump suit, spoke for about five minutes. He denied killing his wife.
“I’m innocent of these charges,” Kustok said in a soft voice with his voice cracking at times. “This was a horrible accident. I could never commit the horrible lie that that Orland Park Police, the prosecutors and [prosecution expert witness Rod] Englert have been allowed to perpetuate.”
Kustok, who did not testify during the trial, explained his failure to call 911 after finding his wife shot, saying that as a teenager he had worked occasionally in a funeral home and that he immediately knew that Jeanie was dead when he saw her.
“On that morning when I saw the amount of blood she lost, I knew that calling 911 would do no good,” Kustok told the judge. “The last thing I wanted to do was invite an untold number of strangers into my home because I knew once I gave her up, I knew I would never have that opportunity again. I wanted to be with her as long as I could, to hold her, talk to her, reminisce with her.”
Hynes was not moved. He called it a baffling case. He said that Allan Kustok’s infidelities apparently led to the murder.
“The defendant had it all,” Hynes said before pronouncing the sentence. “He needed more. I believe the jury was correct in the verdict and that Mr. Kustok committed this murder.”
The judge said that Allan Kustok was supposed to be his wife’s protector, but instead became her executioner.
Jeanie Kustok’s two sisters presented statements prior to the sentencing. The statement of Peggy McKain was read by a prosecutor.
“Jeanie embodied all of the virtues anyone could want in a family member,” McKain wrote. “She was kind, thoughtful and giving regardless of how much effort was involved.”
McKain also had a comment for Allan Kustok.
“If I could say something to Allan, it would be: ‘Jeanie was the best thing that ever happened to you, yet you desecrated your marriage your marriage with infidelities, ended her beautiful life and inflicted ongoing pain and anguish on our entire family,” McKain wrote. “You traded the American Dream for a life of incarceration, was it worth it?”
Her other sister, Patricia Krcmery, read a short statement in the courtroom. After the sentencing Krcmery reacted to Allan Kustok’s statement.
“He seemed insincere,” Krcmery said. “I don’t know how else to put it. Jeanie would never, ever have a loaded gun near her.”
The Kustoks, who had been college sweethearts, had been married for 34 years. They seemed to have the perfect marriage, with two children who were outstanding athletes in high school and college and successful as young adults.
But during the trial it became clear that Allan Kustok had been cheating on his wife for some time. He had a mistress for five years and was also seeking out and meeting other women he met on a website for married people seeking affairs.
The defense argued that despite cheating on his wife, Kustok never gave any indication of wanting to harm or kill his wife. The defense suggested that Jeanie Kustok might have accidently shot herself or committed suicide.
Margaret Connolly, who in 2010 shared the gifted teacher position with Kustok in Riverside Elementary School District 96, was called as a defense witness.
Connolly and two other teachers who were friends of Jeanie Kustok testified that she didn’t seem depressed. Limperis said that she had noticed that Kustok lost quite a bit weight in the summer of 2010, but said that she didn’t seem depressed.
“We lost a beautiful person, but we also lost a very gifted teacher,” said Limperis, who was present for the sentencing.
Kustok’s attorneys plan to appeal the conviction, claiming that a test done after the trial discredits the testimony of the prosecution’s star witness, crime scene reconstruction expert Rod Englert.
The defense claims the test shows the gun used to kill Jeanie Kustok was closer to her head than Englert had claimed.