Police on Friday arrested a high school English teacher in the shooting death of his attorney wife after investigators found fault with his story that she died in a home invasion.


Police on Friday arrested a high school English teacher in the shooting death of his attorney wife after investigators found fault with his story that she died in a home invasion.

John Robert Kastner, 50, was arrested on a first-degree murder charge and was being held in the Tulsa County jail without bond.

His wife, Lori Kastner, 45, a former attorney at the Oklahoma Supreme Court, was shot to death Wednesday morning inside the couple's home in west Tulsa.

John Kastner initially told the police an intruder broke into their home and used the couple's gun to shoot Lori Kastner twice in the head and that he was shot in the hand during a struggle for the weapon.

But police say that story fell apart as investigators quizzed Kastner about details of the crime.

"Numerous different red flags came up with the statement, how he laid things out as occurring," said police spokesman Leland Ashley. "It didn't fit."

The couple's children, a 9-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy, were in the house at the time but were not injured.

The couple's 19-year-old adopted daughter was not at home, police said.

John Kastner, also a longtime coach at Webster High School, recently had made financial promises to donate thousands of dollars to the school, but was actually in significant credit card debt, according to a police affidavit by Detective Victor Regaldo.

Larry Edwards, a Tulsa attorney who accompanied Kastner to the police station on Thursday, declined to comment on the case Friday, saying he had not been retained by Kastner.

Court records do not indicate if Kastner has hired another attorney.

John Kastner purchased the .22-caliber revolver used to kill his wife just one week before the shooting, according to police.

He also recently had told family and friends that he was a member of the Israeli Special Forces and that he had access to millions of dollars due to a charitable corporation associated with the Israeli military, according to the police affidavit. He had told his family that they were leaving for a trip to Israel via a private plane on the day of the murder, but investigators said they determined no such corporation existed and that no flight was scheduled.

Regaldo wrote that he "believes the evidence will show that approximately a month prior to the murder of victim Lori Kastner the accused came under intense financial pressure as a result of the false financial promises he made to family members, friends and co-workers."

Tami Marler, a spokeswoman for Tulsa Public Schools, said Kastner had worked for the district for nearly 20 years and had previously coached track, cross country, football and baseball at the school,

"Mr. Kastner has a reputation among students as being a very compassionate and generous teacher," she said. "He's done a lot at Webster for its site improvement plan, he's helped to boost state test scores. He devoted a lot of his time, energy and passion to teaching and coaching."

 

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.