Man Sentenced For 1982 Cold Case Ax Murder Of His Wife

After the case went cold for 40 years, Cathleen Krauseneck’s husband was convicted and sentenced for killing her with an ax.

James Krauseneck, pictured here, has been charged and sentenced for his wife's 1982 murder.

After the case went cold for 40 years, Cathleen Krauseneck’s husband has now been convicted and sentenced for killing her with an ax.

Photo by: Brighton Police Department

Brighton Police Department

On Feb. 19, 1982, Cathleen Krauseneck, 29, was killed with an ax while she slept in her Brighton, New York home. Despite an extensive initial investigation, the case went cold, and nearly 40 years passed before it was solved.

According to prosecutors, James Krauseneck murdered his wife over four decades ago. After that, he went to work and left his then-3-year-old daughter Sara all alone in the home to find her mother’s body, reported Democrat and Chronicle.

Since 2015, the Monroe County District Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, well-known pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, the Brighton Police Department, and the Monroe County Crime Lab have worked together to further review and solve the case, according to PEOPLE.

In September 2022, James Krauseneck, then 70, was finally convicted of second-degree murder for his wife’s slaying, On Nov. 7, 2022, he was sentenced to 25 years to life for the crime.

“Here at the MCDA’s office, we do not give up on victims. We will do everything in our power to secure justice, even 40 years later,” Sandra Doorley, the Monroe County District Attorney, announced via Twitter.

WHAM reported that James addressed the court and maintained his innocence before his sentencing, stating, "I did not murder Cathy. I loved Cathy with all my heart and with all my soul. I continue to be haunted by why someone would murder such a beautiful person."

Sara Krauseneck Young, the couple’s daughter who found her mother’s body when she was only three years old, defended her father and insisted on his innocence. She said he was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and stated, “The justice system has failed my parents, myself, and both sides of my family.”

However, Cathleen’s 95-year-old father Robert Schlosser is convinced that James killed his daughter. In court, he reportedly said, "Jim, I hope you live to be 100 years old and enjoy your new home."

“Cathleen Krauseneck deserved her day in court, and I could not be more proud of the investigators and attorneys in my office who helped to bring this to trial and hold James Krauseneck accountable for her murder. After Feb. 19, 1982, James Krauseneck moved away and went on with his life for 40 years. Cathleen did not have that privilege. I am grateful that we were able to provide this closure for Cathleen and her family,” Dooley said in a statement.

James died in prison from esophageal cancer in May 2023.

For more on this case, stream People Magazine Investigates: “Brighton Ax Murder" on Max.

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