BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — “A fresh set of eyes” is what investigators say changed the course of the 1982 Brighton ax murder case.

Following Monday’s guilty verdict, Brighton Police Chief David Catholdi said the case grew stale for many years, but things took a turn in 2015. With new people on the investigative team, they were able to take a fresh look at the evidence.

Catholdi said in all the years of working on the case, the department believed James was guilty the whole time.

“There’s nobody I talked to, that was involved in the case that, had any doubt he killed his wife,” said Catholdi.

James’ alibi about a burglar breaking in, was false and staged, according to Catholdi.

“Brighton used to have 300 burglaries a year, so there was a lot of experience at the patrol level, and investigating burglary scenes,” said Catholdi.

A former police investigator testified responding to the scene, and describing several items on the floor, “carefully placed” there. For instance, a tea service set on the ground, with pitchers of milk standing upright.

Catholdi said in 2015, the case took off with new leads and new testimonies from medical experts like Dr. Michael Baden.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Gallagher said Dr. Baden’s testimony was helpful, but in the end, every bit of evidence mattered.

“Just on the fact that we knew Cathy was killed in the early morning hours, when she was sleeping, and when you take into account everything that comes with that, there was no one else that could’ve done this crime,” said Gallagher.

Stephen Hunt joined in 2016, and said he studied all the evidence from A to Z.

“The dogs in the basement, why is the dog in the basement? That was a big one too,” said Hunt.

According to officers, the dog had been in the basement all day after James left for work.

“The garage door open that leads to the patio, the porch, and there’s a mull there with the glass broken, but when you look at the glass broken, you couldn’t get your arm in there because there’s big shards of glass, you would’ve gotten cut,” he said.

FBI findings say the glass was broken from the outside, and no blood was found on it. The defense said a third party broke and entered by smashing the window.

Hunt said a lot of evidence was previously overlooked. He revisited pictures from the crime scene showing boat shoes, and was able to trace it to a footprint on a garbage bag from the scene – ultimately admitted into evidence.

“There was a shoeprint found inside of a garbage bag,” said Catholdi. “One investigator [Hunt] worked very hard on identifying that shoe print inside that garbage bag, and I think it really bolstered the case when it came to a staged crime scene,” he said.

“The killer was intelligent but not criminally intelligent,” said Hunt, citing a quote from FBI. “James became a criminal, but he didn’t have experience, and so he made this crime scene to what his experiences were, whether it was reading books or movies, so he left…like a trail of breadcrumbs.”

The defense said Brighton Police didn’t charge Krauseneck all these years, because there wasn’t enough evidence.

But Catholdi and Hunt disagree — and say it falls on the jury.

“I think the jury got it right, I believe in the jury system,” said Catholdi.

“I’ve never been more confident in 22 years, of cases, that the right message was set and the right verdict was laid down,” said Hunt.

The defense team also said Cathy’s time of death was too hard to pinpoint, and any motive regarding tension in their marriage over James’ unfinished Ph.D. was a reach. 

“We believe there is no justification for waiting 37 years for this indictment, we think the law is on our side, and we’re confident we’re going to have a reversal,” said defense attorney Michael Wolford.

Sentencing is set for November 7.

For more on the defense’s argument, check back with our previous coverage throughout the trial.