Shadwick R. King testified Monday that he never hurt his wife, even when he suspected she was involved with a younger man, and he asked her if she wanted a divorce.
And just hours before Kathleen King died, the two opened up about their future.
“I thought things were going well and the future was going to be good,” King said.
But then he saw her on her phone, texting – something that had been bothering him recently. When she put the phone down, he grabbed it, pulled it out to the porch and discovered an “endless” number of messages between her and the other man, he said.
King, 55, from Geneva, was the first witness called by defense attorney Kathleen Zellner during his trial for the murder of his wife on July 6, 2014, when she was 32. Her body was found around 6:38 a.m. that day beside a set of tracks on the Union Pacific Railroad line, her head hanging over a rail. Authorities say she was strangled to death.
King said he used his phone to text the man, posing as Kathleen King. He said he did it to annoy the other man.
He testified that he went to an ATM to get $500 around 5 a.m., drove to a location on the Fox River north of St. Charles, and drove home. Kathleen King was sleeping but stirred when he got into bed, he said.
About 45 minutes later, he saw her getting dressed to run, King said. He said he was not surprised she was still gone about two hours later when he returned home after collecting petrol and donuts.
King talked about being married before and having a son. He said he and Kathleen were introduced to a bar in Bloomington while she was studying for her bachelor’s degree. They married two years later when she became pregnant with the couple’s first son. They were married for 10 years.
Prosecutors objected to Zellner questioning King about much of her and the couple’s history, questioning how that was relevant.
“This is a case decided primarily on motive,” Zellner told the judge.
In late 2013, Kathleen King began talking about joining the Army Reserves to advance her career prospects by becoming a logistics expert. She underwent military training from February to early June 2014.
Shadwick King took time off from work to stay home and care for their children. He said she changed during the training, becoming distant, drinking more and keeping her phone. He also admitted that he started looking at her Facebook page, noticed that she had new friends, including the man, and tried to search for information about the man.
He said she was sending hundreds of text messages in June 2014 when she returned home and he threw her “damn phone” into a pond of anger. The two then bought new phones.