Husband Arrested and Charged with 1982 Axe Murder of Wife
James F. “Jim” Krauseneck Jr., 67, of 12389 W. Gilia Way, Peoria, Arizona, has been arrested for the 1982 axe-murder of his first wife, Cathleen Krauseneck, in Brighton, New York. Formerly a Weyerhaeuser executive in Gig Harbor, Washington, the suspect has been charged with second-degree murder. His daughter was with him Friday morning as he pleaded not guilty in court.
On February 19, 1982, Cathleen was killed with an axe at the family’s home on Del Rio Drive in Brighton. Her body was found hours later by James after he said he returned home from work at Eastman Kodak. Cathleen was 29 at the time. One of the most disturbing elements of the case was that the couple’s three-year-old daughter had been with the body for hours.
Investigators spoke with Krauseneck following the discovery of his wife’s body, but when he failed to appear for an interview the following day, they became suspicious. They later learned he had taken his daughter, then 3½-years-old, to Mount Clemens, Michigan, where his family lived. One of the most disturbing elements of the case was that the toddler had been alone with her mother’s corpse several hours. “He gave the appearance of wanting to be cooperative,” lead investigator Mark Liberatore told The News Tribune in 2016. “But then he got a lawyer and we never talked to him again for 34 years.”
Approximately four years ago, investigators traveled from New York to Gig Harbor speak with Krauseneck. At the time he was vice president of sales at Weyerhauser, one of the world’s largest private owners of timberlands. The company declined to comment on the murder investigation and Krauseneck did not return repeated phone calls and emails from the press.
Two days after Brighton police interviewed Krauseneck, he and his fourth wife listed their home sale.
Krauseneck’s attorneys asserted his innocence, saying in a statement they have “no doubt” that he will be vindicated. “Jim has cooperated in the investigation of his wife’s murder, repeatedly giving statements to the police, consenting to the search of his home and his car,” a portion of the statement read. It wasn’t until I became involved and it became evident that he was being targeted, that I placed some reasonable conditions on any further interrogation. We believe bringing this indictment is a mistake. I have no doubt that we’ll demonstrate this as we defend Jim against this misguided prosecution.”
“I want to thank the Brighton Police Department, who has worked with the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office since 1982, for never giving up on finding justice for Cathleen Krauseneck,” said Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley. “We look forward to bringing this case through the criminal justice system and finally bringing justice to Cathleen, her friends and family.”
Monroe County Assistant District Attorney William Gargan is prosecuting the case.
Sources: WHAM, November 8, 2019, and Stacia Glenn, The Tacoma News-Tribune, November 8, 2019.
Last Edit: Nov 12, 2019 18:06:18 GMT -5 by JoannaB
I grew up in Rochester and we lived just a couple miles east of the murder house. When I was a teenager, we used to drive by there around Halloween. We thought the house was haunted because of the axe murder and the other two people who died there.
DNA Not the Only Evidence Leading to Krauseneck's Arrest
New forms of DNA testing led to the identification of James Krauseneck Jr. (shown above with 4th wife Sharon and daughter Sara [far right]) in the 1982 murder of his wife, Brighton Police Chief David Catholdi said at a recent press conference. But, he added, this wasn’t the only evidence.
Police initially investigated the gruesome murder as a burglary and one of the reasons was because the Krauseneck’s 3½-year-old daughter spent several hours alone with her mother’s corpse before her father arrived home that afternoon. Many people just could not believe a father would subject his child to such horror.
DNA testing of evidence collected decades earlier revealed plenty from family members, including Krauseneck, but none from strangers. “I think that speaks volumes. There’s no bogeyman out there,” Catholdi emphasized.
In addition to advanced DNA testing, the FBI also digitized boxfuls of handwritten case notes from 1982 and Michael Baden, a celebrity medical examiner, was retained to examine the autopsy and forensic reports to compile a timeline. Comparing the ME’s timeline to that provided by Krauseneck, Baden concluded the husband “was in the home at the time of the homicide,” the chief continued. While acknowledging the case against Krauseneck is different from the DNA testing cases that identified Joseph DeAngelo and John Arthur Getreu in California, he explained it’s “a timeline case. It’s not a proverbial smoking gun.”
]Krauseneck, 67, who now lives in Arizona, surrendered and appeared in a New York courtroom Friday, November 8, with his second wife and now-grown daughter by his side. He pled not guilty and was released on a $100,000 bond after surrendering his passport.
FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeremy Bell said the arrest and indictment of Krauseneck 37 years later “puts criminals everywhere on notice: Just because the years go by doesn’t mean you can stop looking over the shoulder,” he warned. “We’re coming.”
Krauseneck’s attorneys are maintaining their client’s innocence, saying he has cooperated with the investigation since the beginning and his daughter, Sara, believes her father to be innocent. “She has traveled from out of state to support her father as he pleads not guilty. She has never doubted her father’s innocence,” reads a statement from Krauseneck’s attorney.
Sources: Tracy Connor, The Daily Beast, November 12, 2019, and Spectrum News, November 8, 2019.
Last Edit: Nov 12, 2019 18:08:45 GMT -5 by JoannaB
Post by Graveyardbride on Jun 21, 2020 1:41:45 GMT -5
Krauseneck Requests Change of Venue
In March, attorneys representing James Krauseneck Jr., who is accused of the 1982 axe-murder of his wife, have requested a change of venue. For the past 38 years, the lawyers alleged, the coverage of the murder has been extensive and reflected negatively on Krauseneck, who was indicted in November on a charge of second-degree murder. “A fair and impartial trial cannot be held in Monroe County,” defense counsel Michael Wolford wrote.
Specifically, Wolford cited the fact news reports mentioned that the Krauseneck’s 3½-year-old-daughter, Sara, was left in the home alone with the bloodied corpse of her mother for several hours until her father returned from work. The Defendant relocated to Michigan immediately after his wife’s death and refused to allow authorities to question his daughter. However, “there is no coverage of how questioning could harm Sara,” Wolford argued. “A fair and impartial trial cannot be held in Monroe County,” the defense concluded.
Prosecutor William Gargan opposes the change. “Although this case has gained attention in this community, it is no different from other high profile matters that have been successfully tried in this county,” he wrote in his opposing motion. He also noted the defense must demonstrate news coverage has “aroused a deep and abiding resentment in the county.” Finally, the ADA argued, absent an attempt to empanel a jury, it cannot be known if media coverage of the axe killing is so expansive the Defendant cannot receive a fair trial in Monroe County.
Sources:State of New York v. James Krauseneck Jr.; Monroe County Clerk of Court, Rochester, New York; and Gary Craig, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, March 19, 2020.