Brighton Ax Murder Trial: Cop who discovered the crime scene says “it’s haunted me for a long time”

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — 40 years after the ax murder in Brighton, police finally feel like their duty is done. The trial began on Tuesday and Thursday marks day 4.

This week, the jury in the murder trial against James Krauseneck heard from the first police officer to find the crime. Prior to going into the courtroom to testify, Markus Spaker said he’s been waiting 40 years to do this.

News10NBC’s Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: “What was it like for you to walk into that courtroom and testify?”

Markus Spaker, Brighton police officer (retired): “Well it was cathartic in a way because for 40 and a half years I’ve had to think about this and it’s haunted me for a long time.”

On February 19, 1982, Markus Spaker was still a young police officer in Brighton. He’s the officer who found the body of Cathy Krauseneck, killed in her bed.

See our complete coverage of the Brighton Ax murder trial

Her then-husband James Krauseneck is on trial for the murder.

Brean: “Take me back to February 19, 1982. What do you remember that day?”

Spaker: “Well seeing the victim with an ax in her head was very traumatic to me. I had never seen anything like that in person.”

When he testified, Spaker said James Krauseneck came up the stairs behind him. Spaker told the jury he had to block Krauseneck from the room to protect the crime scene.

He said Krauseneck tried to climb up his back. He said Krauseneck alternated between screaming and silence but said he answered calmly when he asked Krauseneck when he left the home.”6:30″ in the morning, Spaker told the jury.

Brean: “I think one of the things a lot of our viewers are curious about is why did it take so long to get to this trial? Why to you think?”

Spaker: “I wish I knew the answer to that. I really don’t know. And three years ago when it was brought up and when I was first informed that they might be doing this I was relieved that we were finally going to do something.”

Spaker had an opportunity to offer condolences to Cathy Krauseneck’s family. Spaker retired in 1999 but he said testifying at this trial made him feel like he ended his duty.