Brighton Ax Murder Trial Juror “We made our decision and now it’s time”

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – News10NBC talked to one of the jurors in the Brighton ax murder trial. Monday, the jury convicted James Krauseneck of killing his wife, Cathy Krauseneck, with an ax inside their home 40 years ago.

Juror Ivan Matthew said the jury struggled to believe a father would leave a daughter alone in a home with her murdered mother. That’s what happened on February 19th, 1982.

“We discussed the key point a lot of us were hung up on was Sara,” Matthew said.
Sara is the Krauseneck daughter, who was three years old, when her mother was killed in her sleep. Sara was in court almost every day supporting her father.

See our complete coverage of the Brighton Ax murder trial

Ivan Matthew: “We had to look at it like if the person could commit this horrible crime then they would be able to leave their daughter in a situation like that.”

Brean: “When you say hung up on, what do you mean?”

Matthew: “A lot of us had a hard time dealing with that fact. How could he have done this? And if he did do this, how could he leave his daughter there and then go to work and act like nothing happened.”

“He’s innocent,” Sharon Krauseneck, James Krauseneck’s current wife, said as she walked out of court to the elevator after the verdict. “He’s innocent.”

Brean: “What was the one thing in the trial you heard or saw that convinced you?”

Matthew: “To me it was the staged burglary.”

During the trial, the jury saw crime photos that showed a tea set — supposedly a target of the burglar — placed neatly on the dining room floor and cash and jewelry untouched around the house.

“We believe there was no justification for waiting 37 years for this indictment,” said Michael Wolford, one of Krauseneck’s attorneys.

Brean: “Did you ever wonder why it took 40 years to get to this point?”

Matthew: “Honestly we did. We discussed that amongst us. Some folks thought it was just a privilege of him allegedly being a white male working at Kodak in a big time position.”

Matthew said the 40 years did not affect their decision making.

So how did they decide? Jurors took a series of anonymous votes and either wrote a “G” for guilty, “NG” for not guilty or a “?” for undecided. Early Monday morning Matthew said the vote was 10 to 2 to convict. When they did it again just before 11am every juror voted guilty.

Brean: “You take that final vote and it’s 12 nothing, it’s unanimous. Do you sit there and look at each other? Do you say anything? What do people do?”

Matthew: “Honestly, the room was very quiet because then you know this is real. And I think everyone was just in silence and from there we just dealt with it and we said okay, we made our decision and now it’s time.”