ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The documentary series “48 Hours” will be airing an episode revolving around the man convicted of murdering his wife with an ax in Brighton in 1982.

Krauseneck was found guilty of second-degree murder decades after the death of his wife Cathleen “Cathy” Krauseneck on February 19, 1983. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

The reason this case took decades to solve was because another individual — Ed Laraby — was the main suspect in the murder.

Erin Moriarty of “48 Hours” sat down with News 8’s Brennan Somers to discuss the James Krauseneck case. The Krauseneck episode will air on News 8 WROC Saturday at 10 p.m.


Brennan: I guess I would ask you to start, Erin. So many people here knew this story, they followed it for decades, there was so much to unpack with it, so many layers. How unusual was it for you? You’ve covered so many investigations over the years.

Erin: “I have to tell you, Brennan, it was very unusual. Almost everything about this case was unusual. And you’re right, I think I’ve seen it all.”

Number one, it was one of the coldest cases in this country that actually went to trial, and I’m aware then of how difficult it is to prosecute a case like that and defend it. Then, of course, you have an ax murderer. That was the first time I’d ever encountered that, and then in part of my reporting on a different story, I was talking to an FBI profiler who told me how unusual it is that an ax, which would be considered a murder of anger, was only used with a single blow. That was an unusual detail, and then, you know, you have the defendant himself, Jim Krauseneck. There’s no history of violence before, no history of violence afterwards. We spoke to his wife —his current wife — who had been married to him for 23 years, and she completely believes he’s innocent based on how well she knows him.

And so I have to be honest, this was an unusual case, a poignant case and certainly one I wanted to cover.

Brennan: When you had that interview with his current wife, did she say anything about-did they have conversations about this? What did she ask about back then in the 80s?

Erin: Well, I think it will be troubling to some people when I did ask her that and she never asked him point blank.

She never did more research to find out. Her explanation is that you can’t live with a man for as long as she has without knowing him and she knows he’s not guilty. I think she felt that he would feel she was not trusting him.

But she did sit through the entire interview that two of the detectives did way before they brought charges and she heard all the details. But she does believe in her husband.

Brennan: And finally, I would ask you what we’ve heard for so long from the defense was that Jim was at work, at Kodak, couldn’t have been there, couldn’t have done this. They’d always pointed the finger at Ed Laraby, the sex predator, as a suspect going back to 1982. What did authorities do when they started working the case to investigate that theory?

Well, you know, Brennan, in fact, I wish that investigators had done a better job of investigating Ed Laraby back in 1982. As you know, investigators went to see him, he didn’t want to talk, and they kind of dropped the ball at that point — didn’t even find out whether he had an alibi or shown up at work.

It was years later when he was trying to make a deal, he was suffering from ALS. He’s trying to make a deal. He reaches out to the FBI and he claims that in some of the discussions that he had killed the housewife in Rochester. That’s when investigators did a much more thorough job, and his details don’t match the details of this crime and he describes a very different victim, dark haired, overweight, when Cathy was blonde. He get a just doesn’t get the details correctly. And so it’s still though a major issue at trial, as you know.