Brighton Ax Murder Trial: Sister of the victim initially didn’t think James Krauseneck did it. That’s changed

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — If you’ve been watching News10NBC this week, you’re up to speed on the Brighton ax murder trial. The trial began on Tuesday.

40 years after it happened, a man named James Krauseneck is on trial for killing his wife Cathy inside their home in Brighton. Cathy’s sister told News10NBC’s Cheif Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean that in the years after the murder she didn’t think her brother-in-law did it.

Brean: “When this happened, 40 years ago you didn’t think Jim was involved at all.”

Annet Scholsser, sister of Cathy Krauseneck: “Not right away, no.”

Brean: “And when did that change?”

Scholsser: “A couple of years later.”

That’s when Annet Scholsser says James Krauseneck took his daughter sara and separated from cathy’s family.

See our complete coverage of the Brighton Ax murder trial

“When he moved out of state and took Sara away from us and wouldn’t let us talk to her or see her or communicate with him,” she said.

Scholsser says Krauseneck also stopped asking police questions about the case.
Retired Brighton police officer testified Krauseneck never talked to them about the case after their final interview with him a week after the murder.

Cathy Krauseneck was found dead in her bedroom with an ax embedded in her head. Cathy’s family, including her 95-year-old father, have been in the courtroom every day.

Brean: “How do you think things are going?”

Scholsser: “That’s a good question. I think things are moving every day in the right direction. I can say that.”

Scholsser says she’s been involved in the case since it was re-activated in 2016 so she knows every detail the jury is hearing.

Brean: “So you probably have some sense as to what the jury is going to hear in the future.”

Scholsser: “A little bit, yes.”

Brean: “And how do you think they’re going to react to what you know is probably coming?”

Scholsser: “I hope they react with justice.”

A friend of Cathy Krauseneck testified that James was “arrogant.” But she admitted to the defense attorneys that she never saw James Krauseneck mistreat Cathy or their daughter Sara.

The defense is trying to convince the jury the murder may have been committed by an infamous killer and rapist who lived half a mile from the Krauseneck home at the time. Edward Laraby made an error-filled confession to the crime 10 years ago. He later died in prison.