Carrying his two-week-old baby, former Northwestern University football star Zak Kustok walked out of court with his wife Nicole Kustok as he made his first court appearance Wednesday at his father's murder trial. It was not as a show of support for him, but to support his 35-year-old wife, who was called to the witness stand by the prosecution.
Considered to be a strong witness for the prosecution, some of Nicole Kustok's testimony was at odds with statements Allan Kustok made to police. The wife of Zak Kustok was very close to Jeanie Kustok. Nicole told the jury she was inspired by her mother-in-law's optimism and her devotion to family and religion.
Nicole spoke in glowing terms of her mother-in-law, Anita "Jeanie" Kustok. Nicole told jurors that Jeannie was an empathetic caregiver who was very close to her children. Nicole testified Jeanie Kustok was looking forward to being a grandmother, Nicole said, "something she deserved to be here for."
While prosecutors allege Allan Kustok shot his wife in the head while she was sleeping, the defense claims Jeanie Kustok killed herself. Allan Kustok told investigators he bought his wife a .357 caliber revolver as an anniversary present because she was worried about burglars and she didn't like to be alone.
Nicole told jurors Jeanie never mentioned anything about being afraid or the fear of being alone. As for guns, Nicole said a few months before her mother-in-law's death, the conversation about a gun came up at a family gathering. Nicole said she tried to change the subject because Jeanie Kustok was clearly uncomfortable with the discussion.
Nicole also recalled the day of Jeanie Kustok's death when she told investigators her in-laws has a perfect marriage. Prosecutors asked her if her answer would have been the same if she knew about Allan Kustok's extramarital affairs. Nicole replied, "Of course not."
Prosecutors allege Allan Kustok's affairs and financial problems motivated him to kill his wife. Zak Kustok was not in the courtroom for his wife's testimony because he is on the witness list. In an interview with the Southtown Star Wednesday, Zak said he does not support his father's behavior. When asked if he had an opinion on whether his father murdered his mother, Zak said he is not comfortable commenting on that.