By Shereen Siewert
A Marathon County judge on Monday denied a request to reduce a $1 million bond for a woman accused of fatally shooting her husband in August 2006.
Cindy Schulz-Juedes, 65, of Chippewa Falls, appeared Feb. 3 in Marathon County Circuit Court for an arraignment hearing, a brief court appearance at which the defendant is formally charged and is asked to enter a plea. In felony cases, an arraignment follows a preliminary hearing.
Schulz-Juedes on Monday pleaded not guilty to a charge of first degree intentional homicide.
During the hearing, Schulz-Juedes’ defense attorney argued that the defendant should be released on an ankle monitor and allowed to return to her Chippewa Falls home pending trial, a request that prosecutors vehemently opposed.
Circuit Judge Mike Moran denied defense attorney Earl Gray’s request, but instructed Gray to provide more information and law on possible placement in an alternate county.
Schulz-Juedes, whose preliminary hearing was held in December, was arrested on Nov. 27, accused of fatally shooting her 58-year-old husband, Kenneth E. Juedes, of Unity. She has been jailed ever since.
Police reports and court documents detail the investigation that began the morning of Aug. 30, 2006, when deputies with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department responded to the couple’s town of Hull home 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 describes 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, statements that aroused their suspicions.
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.
First degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison upon conviction.
Future court dates have not yet been set.