'Spoiled' bullet spared woman's life in 2017 Sugar Grove gas station

  • Kennrith L. Foster

    Kennrith L. Foster

Updated 10/21/2019 6:41 PM

Looking down on his ex-wife's unconscious body, Kennrith L. Foster began jumping up and down, landing hard on her back with both his feet.

The 50-year-old East Chicago, Indiana, man was furious his wife had divorced him and married another man.


After hundreds of calls and threats, the 5-foot-10, 220-pound Foster showed up at the Sugar Grove gas station where his ex-wife worked, pulled a gun and chased her into a back office around 3 a.m. Dec. 17, 2017.

There, as shown on a surveillance video played during Foster's attempted murder trial Monday in Kane County, he beat her, pulled off her wedding band and engagement ring, punched and choked her into unconsciousness for several minutes and then jumped up and down -- his feet landing on her back three times.

When Foster first trapped his ex-wife in the gas station at northwest corner of Galena Boulevard and Route 47, he held a silver .38-caliber semi-automatic handgun to the right side of her head and pulled the trigger, according to the video.

But there was an ammunition malfunction. The bullet didn't kill her, instead it lodged in her scalp and didn't produce enough force for the shell casing to be ejected from the gun.

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The woman testified she felt air or gas from the gun brush her hair, then Foster's fists beating her.

"I panicked, fell to the ground," she testified. "He kept hitting me on the back of the head."

The video showed Foster on top the woman, choking her until her legs and arm stopped flailing. Foster then jumped on her unconscious body before he left with her cellphone and wedding rings.

The woman testified that Foster told her she was going to die -- and if he couldn't have her, "no one could." She said she suffered bad migraines, "nonstop," for six months after the attack.

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Greg Sams characterized the bullet as "spoiled" and said the malfunction likely saved the woman's life.


Aurora Police Lt. Richard Robertson, the lead firearms instructor at the College of DuPage Suburban Law Enforcement Academy, testified as an expert Monday. He watched the video and provided a breakdown, saying it showed Foster pulled the trigger, gasses discharged from the gun and age or moisture on the bullet could have caused it to malfunction.

Robertson said Foster would have not been able to shoot the gun again because the shell casing would be stuck in its chamber.

Foster was arrested 11 days later in Arizona and has been held at the Kane County jail since then.

Foster has opted for a bench trial before Judge D.J. Tegeler. If convicted of attempted murder, Foster faces up to 30 years in prison, plus another 20 years in prison if it is determined he personally discharged the firearm and caused great bodily harm.

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