Murder Trial For Former Tulsa Teacher Expected To Begin Wednesday

Tuesday, August 17th 2010, 9:20 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OKLAHOMA – The trial of a Tulsa man accused of killing his wife is expected to get underway Wednesday morning.

John Kastner was arrested more than two years ago and charged with murdering his wife Lori. Investigators say her death in June of 2008 immediately struck them as suspicious.

Kastner, a former teacher at Tulsa's Webster High School, claimed an intruder shot his wife in the head during a home invasion, then shot him in the hand during the ensuing struggle.

But police say his story kept changing.

"He lied to us from the moment we responded to the home. 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," Tulsa Police Chief Ron Palmer said in 2008.

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 five million dollars 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.

"For the family, it's a very difficult trauma," said Doug Drummond, Assistant District Attorney. "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."

Kastner wanted the trial moved out of Tulsa County, saying media coverage had influenced the proceedings. But unless there are any more unforeseen delays, his trial will be held in Tulsa County.

The start of the trial actually hinges on the health of Kastner's attorney. It's been pushed back this week because he's sick, but it will start Wednesday if he's feeling well enough.

8/17/2010 Related Story: Jury Selection Delayed For Former Tulsa Teacher Charged With Murder