Prosecutors: 'Marry me' text prompted Geneva murder
Kathleen King and her husband, Shadwick, had the evening of July 5, 2014 to themselves.
Their three kids were spending a night at a relative's house and the Geneva couple were having drinks in a local bar.
Kathleen, 32, had recently returned from Army training and was constantly texting a 22-year-old Massachusetts man she met at training. Kane County prosecutors said King was having an emotional affair with the man via text and Facebook.
Of the 3,500 texts they exchanged in 16 days, one stood out, Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Greg Sams said Tuesday during opening arguments in the murder trial of Shadwick King.
"Will you marry me?" Kathleen King texted to the Massachusetts man, who eventually agreed, Sams told jurors.
"She was having an intense, emotional, intimate textual relationship with another man," Sams said. "I'm not going to ask you to like Kathleen King or the choices she made. But the choice she made did not mean she had to be killed."
Kathleen King's body was found on the Union Pacific railroad tracks the next morning, her pink iPhone next to her upright on two railroad spikes.
Shadwick King, 48, is accused of suffocating her and moving her body to the tracks.
Sams said prosecutors will show Shadwick King became obsessed with finding out what his wife was doing, spying on her via Facebook and checking their bank statements when he learned she lied about going to a Chicago Cubs game with her sister when she met the Massachusetts man instead.
Kane County Public Defender Kelli Childress told jurors King, who court records list as being 6 feet 4 inches tall and 275 pounds, was a "gentle giant" who never cursed or harmed his wife.
Childress noted the police in Geneva, where there has not been a homicide since 1975, have no experience investigating murders and spoon-fed a hired criminal profiler information about the case -- but only after Shadwick King was charged with murder.
Childress argued that authorities focused on Shadwick King because it was convenient to turn their theory into fact.
"Shad King did not murder his wife," Childress said. "No one murdered his wife. Kathleen King did not die by homicide."
Shadwick King has been held at the Kane County jail on $1.5 million bail since his arrest days after his wife's death.
During jury selection, Judge James Hallock told prospective jurors that the trial could last up to two weeks.
If convicted, King faces a sentence of 20 year to 60 years in prison without the possibility of early release.