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CSI: ISC as State Supreme Court Stays Murder Appeal

A former FBI agent’s lush description of a crime scene led the Illinois State Supreme Court throw out a Kane County man’s conviction for strangling his wife. In upholding an appeal’s court decision that will see Shadwick King re-tried, the court ruled that judges in the 2nd District were right to toss the conviction due to arbitrary interjections by Mark Safarik that the Geneva man had staged what was claimed as the cardiac event that took Kathleen King’s life amounted to harmful error. The forensics analyst testified over objection that the woman’s body was placed on the railroad tracks where she was found dead in 2014.

The state sought to portray King as a jealous husband and produced medical experts to support its claim that an emotional affair prompted the killing. His defense countered with the theory that Kathleen King died while on a run on the morning after a night of heavy drinking and supplied similarly strong testimony. In a unanimous decision, justices said that Safarik prejudiced the outcome with opinions and conclusions that ranged to declaring that leaves found on the body matched those from trees in the couple’s yard. In what is being read as a blow to expert testimony, the court agreed that the now-retired circuit judge who sentenced King to 30 years erred in letting the Safarik’s assertions stand.