James Krauseneck Jr. had to be physically pulled from the room where his wife lay with an ax buried into her skull on the late afternoon of Feb. 19, 1982, according to testimony at a pretrial hearing Tuesday.
Retired Brighton Police Officer Markus Spaker, one of the first officers at the homicide scene, said he first met Krauseneck outside of another house on Del Rio Drive, then accompanied Krauseneck into Krauseneck's home.
As Spaker looked into different rooms on an upper floor, Krauseneck went into the bedroom where his wife's corpse lay in bed. Spaker said he had to physically remove Krauseneck to get him out of the room.
“I was tussling with (Krauseneck) to keep him out of going back in the room," Spaker testified Tuesday. He said he did not want the crime scene tainted.
Another officer was so concerned about the apparent altercation that he pulled a gun on Krauseneck, Spaker testified. Spaker said he was able to calm Krauseneck and convince the officer that no one was in danger and the handgun could be holstered.
On Tuesday, testimony began in the first of what could be a three-day hearing exploring circumstances of statements Krauseneck has made to police in the nearly four decades since the ax blow killing of his wife, Cathleen.
Krauseneck is now accused of the murder of his wife; his defense is seeking to have his statements suppressed. There appears to be nothing incriminating in the various statements that have been made public.
In fact, former Brighton Police Investigator Craig Corey testified, Krauseneck voluntarily spoke with police when he and another investigator went to Michigan in the days after the homicide. Krauseneck and his 3-year-old daughter, Sara, went to Michigan after the killing.
Krauseneck's parents and other family were in Michigan, as were relatives of Cathleen Krauseneck.
Krauseneck also agreed to have blood, saliva, and hair samples taken from him and Sara so they could be compared with samples in the Brighton home, Corey testified.
Corey testified that he did not consider Krauseneck a suspect when they interviewed him in Michigan. "This was a fact-finding mission," Corey said.
Corey said he and retired Investigator Richard Corrigan left Michigan at the end of February 1982 after Krauseneck retained an attorney. Corey said Krauseneck told him that his father was upset with the interviews of family members and urged him to get a defense lawyer.
Officials at Eastman Kodak Co., where Krauseneck worked, recommended Michael Wolford, who still represents Krauseneck. Local attorney William Easton also is defending Krauseneck.
Krauseneck has maintained that his wife was alive when he left for work the morning of Feb. 19, 1982, then he returned at the end of the workday to find her dead. He then took Sara across the street to a neighbor, which is where Spaker first encountered him.
State Supreme Court Justice Charles Schiano Jr. is considering a defense request to dismiss charges against Krauseneck.
Contact Gary Craig at email@example.com or at 585-258-2479. Follow him on Twitter at gcraig1.
This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Brighton NY ax murder hearing: Retired Brighton officer testifies