Geneva man gets 30 years in wife's murder
A Geneva man convicted of strangling his wife last summer over an alleged affair was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.
The murder of Kathleen King, 32, on July 6 was Geneva's first homicide since 1975.
At a trial in March, prosecutors argued that Shadwick King, 48, killed Kathleen in a jealous rage after she had struck up an emotional affair with a 22-year-old Massachusetts man she met in Army training in Texas earlier that year. King then left his wife's body on railroad tracks near the couple's Geneva home.
Judge James Hallock issued the sentence after a hearing in which several of Kathleen's family members tearfully told how her death has affected their family and Kathleen's three sons.
Kristine Kuester recalled seeing her sister for the last time the day before the murder, as the two were planning Kristine's wedding.
"(Kathleen) was my big sister and my best friend," Kuester said, sobbing as she recalled how she had to tell her parents of Kathleen's murder.
Kuester said she was walking with one of her nephews after Kathleen's murder when he turned to her and asked Kuester how long she knew his mom.
Kuester explained she knew Kathleen her whole life, which was 27 years so far.
"That's not fair. I only got 7 years," Kuester quoted the boy as saying. "At 9, 7, and 5 years old, they recognized immediately what had been stolen from them."
Kurt Kuester recalled the horror of learning of his daughter's murder, as well as having to tell his three grandsons that their mother was never coming home.
"Not only did they lose their mother, they lost their father as he was the one who perpetrated this crime," Kurt Kuester said. "The void that her untimely, unnatural and cruel death will never be filled. No matter how hard we try, no one can ever replace the love from their mother."
Family members declined to comment after the hearing.
Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Greg Sams asked for a 42-year sentence. Kane County Assistant Public Defender Kelli Childress asked for the minimum 20-year sentence, adding "an innocent man is being sentenced."
King also maintained his innocence when given a chance to address the court.
"I supported Kate in everything she did," King said. "I never disrespected Kate. I never laid a hand on her. I did not kill my wife."
During the two-week trial, prosecutors showed that Kathleen and the Texas man exchanged 3,499 text messages, including one exchange in which Kathleen asked the man to marry her.
Prosecutors also showed how King staged his wife's body on the Union Pacific Railroad tracks to make it look like she was out running when she died. Kathleen was not dressed in running gear. Her bra was twisted in the back, she was not wearing a sports bra, and her clothing was sloppily put on her body.
Prosecutors also showed King was monitoring Kathleen's activity on social media sites, but lied to police about that and what happened during the early morning hours of July 6 after the couple went to a bar in Geneva.
King's defense attorneys argued Kathleen may have died from a heart condition exacerbated alcohol, stress and a lack of sleep.
Under Illinois law, King must serve 100 percent of his sentence with no possibility of early release.
He also gets credit for the 13 months he's been held at the Kane County jail since his arrest.