Jury Selection Underway In Murder Trial Of Former Tulsa Teacher

Monday, September 13th 2010, 4:32 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6  

TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- Jury selection started Monday in the trial of a former Tulsa teacher and coach charged with first degree murder.

John Kastner, a former English teacher at Webster High School, is accused of shooting and killing his wife Lori in June of 2008. Kastner claimed an intruder shot his wife in the head during a home invasion, then shot him in the hand during the ensuing struggle.

But Tulsa Police say his story kept changing.

"He lied to us from the moment we responded to the home, said Ron Palmer, the Tulsa Police Chief at the time. "He lied to us from the moment we responded to his home, he lied to dispatchers, he lied to his friends, he lied to his family and for that, no one should be responsible except him."

Investigators say Kastner was dealing with an unraveling web of lies. He allegedly claimed to be a member of the Israeli Special Forces, and told his family they were moving there so Lori could take a job that paid $5 million a year. Police say he told them he had inherited millions, and had promised Webster High hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The case remained bizarre as the legal proceedings began. Kastner has repeatedly dropped his attorney and in turn delayed the trial.

8/23/2010 Related Story: New Judge And New Trial Date Set For Tulsa's John Kastner

"For the family, it's a very difficult trauma. I don't think anybody can know unless they've had someone killed, what it's like to come down here and deal with these kinds of delays," said Doug Drummond, Assistant District Attorney.

Kastner wanted the trial moved out of Tulsa County, saying media coverage had influenced the proceedings. Barring any unforeseen delays, the trial will remain in Tulsa County.

Jury selection is expected to continue on Tuesday.