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Kathleen M King, 32, July 6, 2014, Geneva, Kane County, Illinois

Updated: Jan 21, 2023

Around 6:30 a.m. on July 6, 2014, Kathleen’s body was found dead on the railroad tracks approximately 1200 feet from the Geneva home where she lived with defendant and their three sons. Her body had not been there 30 minutes before, when an earlier train came through. A Metra crew member testified that, although he initially believed that Kathleen was still breathing when he first saw her body, he realized as he got closer that she was not breathing and that it had just been her shirt moving in the wind. When found, Kathleen’s body was lying on its side, with her head and neck lying on the rail. She was wearing jogging shorts with no underwear underneath; an underwire bra and T-shirt, both of which were pulled up halfway over her breasts; clean running shoes; and ankle socks, one of which was on upside down. She was not wearing her eyeglasses or contact lenses, her earbuds, or her iPhone armband, all of which she normally wore when running. Kathleen’s iPhone was found placed against a couple of railroad spikes on the opposite side of the rail from her body. The first officer arrived on the scene at 6:55 a.m. and found no pulse.

Although the officer believed that Kathleen had been dead for some time, he called for paramedics because he wanted a medical opinion. When the paramedics arrived, they attached a heart monitor to the body. No heartbeat was detected, but the monitor did detect “pulseless electrical activity,” which can carry on for some time after a person dies. The paramedics did not make resuscitation efforts because it appeared that Kathleen had been deceased for quite some time. Emergency medical technician Michael Antenore noted that Kathleen’s skin was a “cyanotic purple” color and that her pupils were “fixed and dilated.” Antenore also noted that the paramedics had mud on their shoes, due to an overnight rain, but that Kathleen’s running shoes were clean. It was later determined that, at the time of her death, Kathleen’s blood alcohol content was 0.15.

On the evening prior to Kathleen’s death, she and defendant and their three sons attended a Fourth of July party at the Elk Grove Village home of Kathleen’s father, Kurt Kuester. Kathleen and defendant consumed several drinks at the party. They left the party together at 10:45 p.m., while the children remained with Kurt for an overnight stay. Kathleen did not appear to have any bruises or injuries when she left the party. After leaving the party, Kathleen and defendant went to a bar in Geneva, where they both consumed several more drinks. They left the bar around 2 a.m. and headed home. A man who was at the bar and who knew the Kings testified that he did not see any bruises or injuries on Kathleen that night.

According to defendant, shortly after they arrived home, Kathleen began receiving text messages from Billy Keogh, a man she had met earlier that year at Army Reserve training in Texas and with whom she had since spent time and been in regular and often intimate contact. Defendant and Kathleen had argued about Keogh in the past, and they had discussed the possibility of divorce because of Kathleen’s relationship with him. Around 4 a.m., defendant sent several text messages to Keogh from Kathleen’s phone. These messages purported to be from Kathleen, telling Keogh that she and defendant were presently having sex. Around 4:45 a.m., defendant left the house and drove to Chase Bank, where he withdrew $500 in “pocket money” from the ATM for some car repairs that he needed. According to defendant, shortly after he returned home from the bank, Kathleen changed her clothes and went out for a run. Defendant then slept for about 30 minutes, after which he left the house to get gas, “drive round,” and buy donuts. He then left to pick up his children from Kurt’s house.

Around 10:15 a.m. on July 6, Kathleen’s sister, Kristine Kuester, called Kathleen’s phone. A Geneva police officer answered and told Kristine that Kathleen was dead. Kristine immediately called Kurt with the news. While Kristine was talking to Kurt, defendant showed up to pick up his boys. Kurt testified that this was surprising because defendant “never” picked up the boys. Kurt immediately asked defendant where Kathleen was, and defendant replied that they had had a fight and that Kathleen had gone out for a run to clear her head. Kurt told defendant that Kathleen was dead, to which defendant replied, “I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything.” According to Kurt, during the entire time he was at Kurt’s house that morning, defendant never asked what had happened to Kathleen or where she was.

Two Elk Grove Village police officers transported defendant from Kurt’s house to the Geneva police station for an interview. According to the officers, it was 20 minutes into the ride before defendant asked what had happened to Kathleen. Over the course of two interviews with the Geneva police, defendant consistently denied any involvement in Kathleen’s death.

Shad was charged on two counts of First Degree Murder on July 11, 2014.

A former police officer and FBI profiler with no medical training testified, over objection, that the lividity on her body at the train tracks were inconsistent with her dying there at the tracks and gave his opinion that the cause of death was manual strangulation. He said the death scene at the tracks he believed was staged and that she was killed in her residence by someone close to her, not a stranger.

The defense brought in their own forensic pathologist that testified Kathleen died of a cardiac event brought on by stress, alcohol intoxication, lack of sleep and caffeine consumption. Her tox report showed her alcohol content was .15. His opinion was that when she was running, she became unwell, sat down on the rail and expired and said the lividity fit that scenario. He said that the other pathologists autopsy report was incomplete because “asphyxiation” as a cause of death was “nonspecific”.

The initial pathologist testified that her autopsy findings led her to that conclusion due to the pressure applied to the neck, and that the diagnosis of a cardiac event ignored the evidence of strangulation.

The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to thirty years.

The defense brought forth an appeal immediately following the guilty verdict.

· the court erred in denying his motion for substitution of judge

· the court erred in admitting the police officer’s testimony

· the court erred in permitting Kathleen’s family to dwell on their suffering at her loss

· the prosecution improperly defined reasonable doubt in its closing argument

· defendant was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt

· the cumulative effect of the trial errors requires reversal

On August 21, 2018 Shadwick King won his appeal at the appellate court level, stating that “the judgement of the circuit court of Kane County is reversed, and the cause is remanded for a new trial”.

While the police officer, also an FBI profiler was a crime scene tech, “there is absolutely no question that Safarik never should have been allowed to testify as an expert in this case,”


Thru an appeal, he was given a bench trial, and on August 15, 2022 he was found guilty again. The sentencing was rescheduled for the second time on January 13, 2023, in which King was sentenced again for 30 years. As of 1/21/2023 King was not listed in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

It is unimaginable what Kathleen's family and loved ones have had to suffer multiple times within such a long span of years, not knowing if they would ever have justice, or peace in Kathleen's death. Thanks to the Geneva Police Department Investigators and the persistence within the Kane County State Attorney's Office, justice was heard.

Rest in Peace Kathleen.


GENEVA - Kathleen M. King, Age 32, nee Kuester. Loving mother of Brandon Michael, Nathan Thomas and Justin James. Beloved daughter of Kurt Kuester and Nancy Boyle. Cherished sister of Kristine (Fiance Tim Casey) Kuester and Michael Kuester. Devoted granddaughter of Jean Lane and James and Marjorie Boyle. Dear niece of Susan (Steve) Eder, Mark (Belinda) Kuester; James, Peggy and Katie Boyle and Bridget (Thomas) Roberts. Kathleen graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor degree in Sociology and then obtained her M.B.A. from North Park University. She was an Army Reservist with The 485th Engineer Company out of Arlington Heights, IL. Visitation Monday July 14 from 3 to 9:00 p.m. at Cumberland Chapels, 8300 W. Lawrence Ave., Norridge. Funeral Tuesday 9:00 a.m. from the funeral home and will proceed to Our Lady Mother of the Church for Mass at 10:00 a.m. Interment Acacia Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Kathleen King Children's Trust c/o Parkway Bank, 4800 N. Harlem Ave., Harwood Heights, IL 60706.

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