Police in upstate NY arrest retired business executive James Krauseneck, for 1982 murder of wife
Former Kodak executive [Dr] Krauseneck, is charged with killing his wife with an ax to the head 37 years ago and leaving their three-year-old daughter alone with her bloody corpse
On February 19, 1982 Cathleen Krauseneck was found in her bed in Brighton, New York with an ax embedded deep in her forehead
The murder weapon, an ax, believed to have been taken from the couple’s unlocked garage, was also wiped clean of fingerprints, a window busted in from outside
Krauseneck, 67, is being charged in the death of Cathleen the first of his four wives following the lack of DNA evidence pointing to anyone else
Investigators said enhanced forensics tests revealed nobody else’s DNA was found in the house – pointing to the other occupant, the dead woman’s husband
Arraigned on Nov 8 in Rochester, NY, Krauseneck pled not guilty in the death of his Cathleen, posted $100,000 bail and surrendered his passport
His trial is due to start in June 2020
Axe killer? Retired corporate exec James Krauseneck [photo], was arrested on Nov 8 in upstate NY, over the death of his wife Cathleen 37 years ago, in February 1982. Cathleen was found in her bed in Brighton, New York with an ax embedded deep in her forehead
James Krauseneck, 67, appeared in a Rochester, NY court on November 8 facing charges over the death of his 29-year-old wife Cathleen on February 19, 1982.
The retired corporate executive living upstate New York has been charged with killing his wife in a cold-case ax murder 37 years ago after tests found nobody else’s DNA at the crime scene.
Cathleen was found in her bed in Brighton, New York with an ax embedded deep in her forehead.
Muddling the clues for investigators, the murder weapon had been wiped clean of any fingerprints and a bedroom window had been broken from the outside.
The 40-year homicide case has remained unsolved for decades but the FBI’s Cold Case Working Group took it up in 2016 and carried out new forensic tests.
Authorities now believe the husband James Krauseneck is the killer after the DNA tests failed to turn up any signs that anyone else had been in the couple’s home at the time of Cathleen’s murder.
A grand jury unsealed an indictment against him on November 8, charging him with the second-degree murder of the first of his four wives.
‘My family will see justice for Cathy, we hope. We still have a ways to go yet with the trial, but this is a huge step forward.’
Krauseneck’s attorney Michael Wolford said he had ‘no doubt’ that his client is innocent and would be vindicated.
‘Jim’s innocence was clear 37 years ago. It’s clear today,’ Wolford told the same newspaper.
For Brighton police chief David Catholdi, it is telling that not a single piece of DNA evidence belonging to anyone other than James Krauseneck was found at the house.
Catholdi told the Tacoma News Tribune: ‘I understand people want a singular piece of evidence that can directly point to James Krauseneck.
‘This is not one of those cases.’
For his court appearance, Krauseneck was accompanied by his adult daughter, Sara. He entered a not guilty plea and was was released on a $100,000 bail and was forced to hand in his passport.
His trial is due to start in June next year.
Cops initially assumed believe a burglar was responsible for the slaying because a window had been broken from the outside in.
The ax, which was believed to have been taken from the couple’s unlocked garage, was also wiped clean of fingerprints.
Krauseneck’s daughter Sara, just three at the time, had been left inside the home with her mother’s corpse all day.
Investigators were unable to determine the timeline whether Cathleen had been killed after 6:30am when Krauseneck said he left for work, or earlier. The timeline of his movements is an important component of the allegations against Krauseneck.
n the absence of ‘a proverbial smoking gun,’ Brighton Police Chief David Catholdi said in a news conference last week, ‘what really cinched the case was the fresh look at it.’
Investigators also revealed that days after Cathleen’s murder, Krauseneck missed an interview with police.
When they tried to find him authorities discovered that he had pulled stakes and relocated to Mount Clemens, Michigan, with his daughter Sara.
Detectives traveled there to speak with him, he agreed he would let his daughter speak to a child psychologist.
That child’s interview never happened. ‘He gave the appearance of wanting to be cooperative,’ 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.’
Another Brighton detective working on the case in the 80s said: ‘They’re all reluctant to offer information.
‘It’s like Cathleen was murdered, taken off the face of the Earth and no one wants to help.’
Cathleen’s sister, Annet Schlosser, recounted the moment she received news of her sister’s grisly murder: ‘I remember dropping to my knees in my dorm room – I just couldn’t believe it,’ Schlosser said.
‘She was my favorite sister and best friend,’ Schlosser said.
As the years passed on without any leads, answers or suspects in relation to her sister’s death, Schlosser became increasingly convinced that her brother-in-law, James Krauseneck, was the real killer.
‘We didn’t believe it [at first]. We were in total shock,’ she told the station. ‘How could Jim do this to his own wife and then leave Sara in the house all day?
Who would want to believe that?’
Schlosser believes Krauseneck snapped when Cathleen discovered he had lied to his employer, as well as his wife, about earning his doctorate.
Schlosser says ‘Jim’ never did achieve this.
‘Knowing my sister, she was all about education and when she found out that Jim did not actually pass his verbal dissertation – he did not earn his PhD – and he lied about it and was calling himself “Dr. Krauseneck” – when she found out, I am certain she confronted him on it,’ Schlosser said.
‘He snapped and I believe that is when he killed her,’ she said.
‘Over 37 years ago, Sara Krauseneck lost her mother and Jim Krauseneck lost his wife,’ Michael Wolford said after his client pled not guilty last week. ‘Today marks a further tragedy, Jim being charged with Cathleen’s murder.’
‘Jim’s innocence was clear 37 years ago,’ Wolford said.
‘It’s clear today. At the end of the case, I have no doubt Jim will be vindicated.’
They had been married for eight years at the time of Cathleen’s death.
The couple’s daughter, Sara, who was three when her mother was killed, traveled from out of state to be with her father when he entered the plea.
Police have said that neighbors and friends indicated that there may have been abuse in the relationship, however Sara has ‘never doubted her father’s innocence,’ Wolford claimed.
In an additional statement, Wolford said his client has actively cooperated with investigators over the last 37 years, a claim that has been contradicted by District Attorney William Gargan.
‘I think the word “cooperative” may have a different meaning [for Krauseneck’s attorneys] than it does for me and the Brighton Police Department,’ he said.
Brighton detectives sent physical evidence to the FBI Laboratory Division in Quantico, Virginia the following year after carrying out their own research.
Gargan also said in court last week there had been attempted DNA tests with the case, but he did not indicate that the tests provided any match with Krauseneck.
Police said Tuesday that the DNA evidence would be part of the case against Krauseneck, but no further explanation was offered.
Annet Schlosser said she was heartwarmed by the law enforcement’s cooperation and efforts, adding she remains quietly confident that the 37-years of waiting [to bring her sister’s killer], to justice could be about to end in seven months time.
‘I can tell you that after watching that press conference this morning, and the confidence that all those men had who spoke today, that confidence inserted into my soul and I am certain that James will be convicted,’ she said.