By Shereen Siewert
The wife of a man found shot to death in August 2006 in his western Marathon County home will stand trial on first-degree intentional homicide charges.
Cindy Schulz-Juedes, 65, of Chippewa falls appeared Dec. 20 in Marathon County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing for a judge to consider the evidence in the case.
Earlier this month during a probable cause hearing, she was ordered held on a $1 million cash bond. Schulz-Juedes was arrested on Nov. 27 and is currently in custody in the Marathon County Jail, accused of fatally shooting her 58-year-old husband, Kenneth E. Juedes, of Unity.
Police first responded at about 8:23 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2006, the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department responded to H3752 Maple Road, in the Marathon County town of Hull, for a report of a man who was deceased. He was later identified as Juedes, who worked as a pharmacist at Memorial Health Center in Medford.
Officers arriving on scene noted that Schulz-Juedes was wearing a white robe without any visible blood on it from attempting first aid on her husband. She appeared clean and well-groomed and seemed “lethargic” to police, court documents state.
Schulz-Juedes told police she first tried to use land line phone to call for help after entering the home and discovering her husband dead, but the phone didn’t work. She said she only heard a “screaming” sound from the phone that indicated the phone was out of service. But police later verified that such Schulz-Juedes wouldn’t have heard such a noise if the phone was out of order or off the hook.
Investigators say Schulz-Juedes was most likely standing on the same side of the bed as her husband, shooting him first in the back, then firing a second shot to the chest after he rolled over. In addition, the suspect described to police a “dream” about dogs barking, her husband looking at her and spitting up blood, and hearing two loud booms, a scenario police say is consistent with actual observations of the scene. A witness living in the neighborhood also told police his dogs normally do not bark at night were barking that evening around the time investigators believe Juedes was killed.
The criminal complaint also details a long body pillow on the opposite side of the bed from Juedes’ body. The body pillow had a kitchen knife stabbed into the pillow and through a note that had the word “bitch” written on it. DNA analysis on the note excluded other potential suspects as the source of the discovered DNA, but Schulz-Juedes could not be included or excluded as its source, court documents state.
Police also point to inconsistencies in Schulz-Juedes’ statements about spending the night in a small camper outside the couple’s home. During the investigation, Schulz-Juedes told police she left the home that night to sleep in a trailer adjacent to the home because of a headache, returned to the home at about 8:20 a.m. and found her husband dead inside. But police say that scenario is unlikely, given Schulz-Juedes’ known dislike of the camper and weather reports that indicate the camper would have been extremely warm and uncomfortable that evening.
Soon after Juedes’ death, investigators discovered insurance policies topping $950,000 and a will that named Schulz-Juedes as the sole beneficiary of Juedes’ estate, which included roughly 80 acres of property in the town of Norrie that had been in Juedes’ family for decades. That land was placed on the market 20 days after Juedes’ death, despite his mother’s plea to Schulz-Juedes to return the land to the family, according to court documents.
The property was sold for $200,000.
Further, the will itself is in question, as the attorney who allegedly prepared the will said the will was not a format his office used, and a witness who allegedly signed the will later told police he was not present when the will was signed.
Hannah McFarland, a private handwriting and document examiner, determined that Juedes’ signature on the will is probably not genuine, according to court documents.
Investigators also point to issues with Schulz-Juedes’ statements regarding her husband’s alcohol use the night of his death. She told police Juedes had about two beers, but toxicology reports show his blood alcohol concentration at between 0.192 percent and 0.247 percent at the time of his death, a discrepancy Schulz-Juedes has never explained.
Autopsy results showed Juedes died of two gunshot wounds to the chest, police said. The murder weapon has never been recovered.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2007 that centered around a $300,000 insurance payout to Schulz-Juedes, which was contested by Juedes’ four children, was resolved in August 2010 before it went to trial. Investigators hoped that the case, had it gone to a jury, would have revealed additional details helpful to their case.
The four children split $212,500 of the $300,000 and Schulz-Juedes received the rest, according to the settlement terms. She was also the beneficiary of an additional estimated $700,000 in a variety of life insurance benefits, according to police records.
Investigators have spent thousands of hours on the case over the years. In a 2013 interview for a Wausau Daily Herald story, Capt. Greg Bean said he would never refer to the Juedes murder as a cold case.
“Ken’s mother deserves to know who killed her son,” Bean said at the time. “I want her to know that someone is paying for this homicide.”
Over the years the case was complicated by new theories and claims, including a so-called “confession” from a man who claimed he drove the getaway car when Butch Patrick, a Hollywood actor who portrayed Eddie Munster in the TV series “The Munsters,” shot Juedes. That story was published in May 2013 by The National Enquirer, though the publication removed the story weeks later. Local police followed up on the confession but quickly ruled Patrick out as a suspect. Patrick knew Juedes because he regularly visited Monster Hall Raceway and Campground in Unity, where Juedes was part-owner.
The Marathon County Sheriff’s Department was assisted in this investigation by the Marathon County Medical Examiner’s Office, Marathon County District Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wisconsin Department of Justice, State Crime Lab, Division of Criminal Investigation and the State Attorney General’s Office.
On Friday, Circuit Judge Mike Moran determined there is enough evidence to move forward on the charges. Future court dates could be filed early next week.
First degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison upon conviction.