Police, investigators questioned in court about 1982 Brighton axe murder

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The pre-trial conference for James Krauseneck continued at the Monroe County Courthouse Wednesday, bringing back key law enforcement and legal officials overseeing this nearly 40-year-old case. Both sides are fighting to determine if Krauseneck should go to trial in the murder of Cathleen Krauseneck in 1982. 

Both Defense Attorney’s Michael Wolford and William Easton plus Assistant District Attorney William Gargan went down the timeline of who investigated and led the Brighton Police Department. 

After all these years, the site of Cathleen Krauseneck found with an axe inside her body on Del Rio Dr. in February of 1982 still holds a burden on those involved in this case. 

Prosecutors and the Defense went back and forth questioning Former Brighton Police Chief Thomas Voelkl who retired in 2010, then Mark Henderson who took over then retired in 2019. Also former investigator Gary Ciulla and County District Attorney Howard Relin. 

The Defense for James Krauseneck focused on neither witness being directly involved with the case at the time of the murder as well as not bringing it to a grand jury when they did look into it over the years due to a lack of evidence. 

Also, pointing to Edward Laraby, a convicted murderer living less than a five minute walk from the Krauseneck home at the time never investigated enough and eventually writing a letter before he died in prison alleging he killed Cathleen. 

Assistant District Attorney Gargan countered with Former Brighton officer Ciulla testifying his letter mismatched how Cathleen was found at the scene and what she looked like or was wearing. He’s also been known to fabricate other claims with Rochester Police over the years. 

Former DA Howard Relin added although James Krauseneck was stated to have left for work that morning at 6:30am a Pink note given to him by Dr. Forbes, a county medical examiner at the time, the body temperature of Cathleens body could indicate her time of death was earlier before James left the home. Former Brighton Police Chief Henderson added in 2015 new forensic evidence could be determined by technology evolving since 1982 for determining the time of death and suspects at the scene. The hearing is expected to conclude on Friday.

The judge in the next month can decide based on this testimony if prosecutors have a strong enough cast to go to trial, or dismiss the charges completely. To recap all the latest details on James Krauseneck’s indictment click here.

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