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New trial begins for Geneva man charged with murdering woman, putting body on train tracks

Was Kathleen King really dead when she was found on a railroad in Geneva? Was she still breathing?

Or were the Geneva police and paramedics wrong when they decided not to even try to resuscitate her?

A new trial began Monday for Shadwick R. King, 55, of Geneva, who is charged with first-degree murder on the July 6, 2014, death of his wife. A jury convicted him in 2015, but an appeals court overturned the conviction in 2018 and ordered a new trial.

“He wasn’t content to just kill her,” Kane County Assistant State attorney Greg Sams said in an opening statement to Judge John Barsanti, who is hearing the case. “He tried to cover up the crime by dressing her up as if she wanted to take an early morning ride and threw her body on the railway that runs east-west through the city of Geneva.”

Sams said King strangled his wife.

Defense attorney Kathleen Zellner said she will present new evidence showing 32-year-old Kathleen King walked over the tracks, including rust and metal marks on the bottoms of her running shoes. An expert will testify that all of her injuries were caused by falls, possibly due to her drinking more than 13 alcoholic drinks the night before, Zellner said.

“The state’s case is based on ‘where there’s smoke, there can be fire,’” Zellner said. “There’s no smoke. There isn’t even a spark.’


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

Kathleen King was found on a lot near Esping Park, a few blocks from where the Kings lived on Oak Street.

Mechanics driving a Metra train saw a woman lying perpendicular to a railroad track at 6:38 AM, her head resting on a railing. A conductor and a brakeman then got off the train to see what happened.

The conductor testified that as he walked up to the body, he thought he saw her breathing. But as he got closer, he saw that she was dead, and a breeze moved her hair and shirt.

Geneva Police Sgt. George Carbray, the first officer there, said Kathleen King’s skin was “very greyish, not pink like a normal living person.”

He checked her pulse and shook one of her shoulders to see if she would respond. A few minutes after arriving, he told the fire department that he thought she was dead.

Paramedic Gary Grandgeorge testified that paramedics arrived about 14 minutes after being called because they had been advised to access the tracks of a company to the east but were blocked by a fence. They then went to the park, which has an opening to the railway.

He and his partner only had a heart monitor with them, he said, because that’s all an unspecified firefighter ordered them to do.

They took an EKG, which showed there was “pulseless electrical activity” in the body, but nothing indicated that Kathleen King’s heart was working, he testified. He forwarded the information to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, and a doctor pronounced her dead.

Grandgeorge continues to testify on Tuesday morning.

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