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 if she wanted a divorce.
And just hours before Kathleen King’s death, the two talked about their future.
“I was thinking things were great and that the future was going to be good,” King said.
But then he saw her on her phone, texting -- something that had annoyed him recently. When she put the phone down, he grabbed it, took it out to the front porch and discovered “an unending” number of messages between her and the other man, he said.
King, 55, of Geneva, was the first witness called by defense attorney Kathleen Zellner at his trial on charges that he murdered his wife July 6, 2014, when she was 32. Her body was found around 6:38 a.m. that day next to a set of tracks on the Union Pacific Railroad line, with her head hanging over a rail. Authorities say she was strangled to death.
King said he used her phone to send text messages to the man, pretending to be Kathleen King. He said he did so to annoy the other man.
He testified that he went to an ATM to get $500 around 5 a.m., drove to a spot on the Fox River north of St. Charles, and returned home. Kathleen King was asleep but stirred when he got in bed, he said.
About 45 minutes later, he saw her dressing for a run, King said. He said he wasn’t surprised that she was still gone about two hours later when he returned home from getting gasoline and doughnuts.
King talked about being married previously and having a son. He said he and Kathleen were introduced at 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 10 years.
Prosecutors objected to Zellner asking King about much of his and the couple’s history, questioning how it was relevant.
“This is a case being tried primarily on motive,” Zellner told the judge.
In late 2013, Kathleen King started talking about joining the Army Reserves to advance her career prospects by becoming an expert in logistics. She attended military training from February to early June 2014.
Shadwick King took a leave from his job to stay home and care for their children. He said she changed during the training, becoming standoffish, drinking more and guarding her phone. He also admitted he began checking her Facebook page, noticed she had new friends, including the man, and tried to look up information about the man.
He said she was texting hundreds of messages in June 2014 when she returned home and that he threw her “damn phone” in a pond in anger. The two then bought new phones.