Trial date set in murder of Riverside teacher

Hospital evidence OK'd for Kustok murder trial

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Contributing Reporter

It's been almost three years since the shooting death of Anita "Jeanie" Kustok, a former Riverside elementary school teacher, but the murder trial of her husband, Allan Kustok, could begin in December.

At an Aug. 13 court hearing, Cook County Judge John J. Hynes tentatively set the trial to begin Dec. 2, but the final date is expected to be determined at a Sept. 30 court hearing.

Kustok is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing his wife with a single .357-caliber revolver gunshot to the head at their Orland Park home on Sept. 29, 2010. Kustok has said that his wife committed suicide while he was out of the room.

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, Kustok was present but did not speak during the Tuesday hearing.

At the hearing, Hynes rejected motions by Kustok's attorney, Rich Beuke, to suppress evidence gathered by police at Palos Community Hospital, where Kustok took his wife on the morning of the shooting. Jeanie Kustok was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, roughly an hour and a half after she was shot, according to police.

Beuke argued that Kustok was protected under physician-patient privilege and the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act after being admitted as a patient to the hospital as a suicide risk the night of the shooting.

Kustok, then 59, was "emotional," "crying," and "hitting the walls" when he arrived and told hospital staff that his wife had killed herself, Beuke said. Kustok was admitted as a patient at 6:50 a.m., roughly 15 minutes before Orland Park Police Officer Jeff Cavender first arrived at the hospital. Beuke said it was the starting point for physician-patient privilege.

"They clearly tried to run the ball in from the one yard line instead of running the length of the field," Beuke told Hynes.

He also aimed to suppress as evidence Kustok's blood-spattered clothing, collected by police at the hospital, and Cavender's testimony from an earlier hearing that he also observed "red dots" of blood splattered on Kustok's glasses.

Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Gonzales argued, and Hynes agreed, that patient confidentiality is waived during a police homicide investigation. Hynes noted in his ruling that Kustok also relinquished his Fourth Amendment right to unreasonable search and seizure when he voluntarily gave his clothing and cellphone to police for their investigation.

Hynes denied Beuke's motion to suppress evidence used by police while they questioned Kustok at the police station. Hynes determined that Kustok did not invoke his right to an attorney before speaking with police although an attorney was available to him.

Neither Gonzales nor Beuke were able to discuss details of the case outside of court because of a gag order issued by Hynes. Beuke indicated in court, though, that he might file additional motions on his client's behalf in the coming weeks.

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