Former Tulsa Teacher Found Guilty In Wife's Murder

Monday, September 20th 2010, 3:15 pm
By: News On 6 & Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- It took less than 30 minutes Monday evening for a Tulsa District Court jury to find a former Tulsa teacher and coach guilty of killing his wife.

A jury convicted John Kastner of murdering his wife, Lori Kastner, in June 2008.  Jurors recommended Kastner be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

The lead prosecutor on the case called it the most bizarre case in his 14 years with the District Attorney's office. And he said it's one of the quickest deliberations that he can remember.

Jurors began their deliberations shortly before 6:00 p.m. Monday and delivered the verdict about 6:30 p.m.

Both sides presented their closing arguments Monday. The defense in the murder trial rested without presenting any evidence and without putting Kastner on the witness stand.

That came just after the state rested its case against Kastner Monday afternoon. 

9/17/2010  Related Story: Testimony Continues In John Kastner's Murder Trial In Tulsa County Court

Kastner, a former teacher at Webster High School, told Tulsa Police an intruder broke into his home and killed his wife and shot him in his hand. 

But investigators say his story kept changing and that's when they discovered the elaborate house of cards that Kastner had constructed: tales of his heroics with Israeli Special Forces, a multi-million dollar inheritance, and a new life set to begin the same day his wife was killed.

"Everybody would like to be wealthy, everybody would like to be a military hero, and everybody would like their life to turn out like a fairy tale," Drummond said. "But the harsh reality of this case is that he was just lying and lying and had no concern for anybody other than himself."

The defense tried to poke holes in the prosecution's theory that Kastner killed his wife because his secrets were coming to light. They questioned the blood evidence and the police investigation, even saying the jury's 30-minute deliberation might be cause for appeal.

Prosecutors say the quick jury verdict is proof the case against Kastner was air-tight. They say this won't bring Lori back, but it will give the family a sense of justice.

"I hope that they could get some closure and move on with the comfort that the man who did this will never ever get out of jail or prison," Drummond said.

John Kastner will be sentenced next week.