Judge to decide Monday whether to acquit Geneva man of killing wife or continue with trial

  • Shadwick R. King

    Shadwick R. King

Updated 6/23/2022 8:55 PM

A Kane County judge will decide Monday morning whether to acquit a Geneva man accused of murdering his wife or if prosecutors have presented sufficient evidence to continue the trial.

Prosecutors wrapped up their presentation Thursday afternoon against Shadwick R. King, 55, who faces first-degree murder charges in the 2014 death of his wife, 32-year-old Kathleen King.


Her body was found around 6:38 a.m. July 6, 2014, perpendicular to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Geneva. Her head was hanging over one of the rails. She was strangled, a medical examiner testified.

A jury found King guilty in 2015, but the Illinois Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 2018 and returned it to Kane County for a new trial.

This time, King opted for a bench trial. Judge John Barsanti is hearing the case. Defense attorneys routinely ask for directed verdicts after prosecutors rest their case.

"There could not be a better example of a case where there should be a directed verdict of 'not guilty,'" defense attorney Kathleen Zellner told Barsanti.

Zellner said prosecutors presented no evidence that Kathleen King's body was staged at the tracks or that somebody dressed her after she died, or if so, that King was the one who did it. She also said prosecutors didn't provide evidence of what time Kathleen King died.

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Assistant State's Attorney Greg Sams said, however, prosecutors have met their required burden.

"He (Shadwick King) had the means, motive and opportunity to do it," Sams said. "The railroad tracks were a crime scene. There was absolutely no way that there was a natural death there."

Prosecutors believe King was upset that his wife was involved emotionally, if not physically, with a younger man she had met that spring while attending Army basic training as a reservist. Zellner has argued Kathleen King died accidentally, possibly from tripping or passing out due to a heart condition brought on by exercising while drunk that morning.

If Barsanti denies the directed verdict, Zellner will present her side of the case.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, prosecutors played videotapes of interviews Geneva police did with King on July 6 and July 8, 2014.

Shadwick King already suspected his marriage was in trouble weeks before his wife died, according to those interviews. But he emphatically and repeatedly denied that he had hurt Kathleen King.


"I absolutely did not do it. I could not do it," he said.

King told police he and Kathleen took their three young sons to her father's house in Elk Grove Village for a family barbecue the evening of July 5, where he drank as many as eight beers, and she drank two to three glasses of wine. They left the boys there and returned to Geneva.

They went to the Dam Bar around 10:30 or 11 p.m. and stayed until closing, around 1:45 a.m., he said. King said he had about four beers and Kathleen King had two glasses of wine at the bar.

When they returned home, King saw text messages on Kathleen King's iPhone between her and the man she met at Army training. He said he already knew the two had been texting the previous few weeks and that he had asked her if she wanted a divorce.

King said he took her phone to their front porch and texted the man back, pretending to be Kathleen King. Her phone was found by her body.

Evidence was presented that around 5:14 a.m., somebody used Kathleen King's tablet computer to send a private Facebook message to the man, telling him her husband had taken her phone.

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