By Shereen Siewert

UPDATE: The wife of a man murdered in 2006 in his rural Marathon County home has been found guilty of first degree intentional homicide.

Jurors deliberated for less than five hours before the verdict against Cindy Schulz-Juedes, 66, was announced. The verdict comes on the heels of days of testimony by investigators and witnesses in the trial, which had been expected to stretch into mid November.

Schulz-Juedes was also convicted of obstruction.

The conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

This is a breaking story. Read our prior coverage below.

Twelve days into a trial that was expected to stretch into mid-November, a jury in Wausau is now deliberating on the fate of Cindy Schulz-Juedes, who is accused of shooting her husband to death in 2006 at their rural Marathon County home.

Attorneys for the prosecution and defense made their closing statements Tuesday, each making one final attempt to sway a jury that heard detailed testimony from investigators and witnesses. The jury began deliberating just before 2 p.m.

Schulz-Juedes, 66, of Chippewa Falls, was formally charged Dec. 13, 2019 with first-degree intentional homicide in connection with the death of her late husband. Ken Juedes was 58 when he was shot to death on Aug. 30, 2006 at the couple’s home, at H3752 Maple Road in the town of Hull. Juedes was found in his bed with two shotgun wounds to the chest. Investigators initially suspected Juedes was killed by someone with whom he had a financial dispute, but quickly focused on Schulz-Juedes, who has maintained her innocence.

No other suspects have been charged and the case remained unsolved for more than 13 years.

In 2006, Schulz-Juedes told police she found her husband dead after spending the night sleeping in a trailer on the couple’s 30-acre property northeast of Unity. But investigators were skeptical of her claim, as multiple witnesses said Schulz-Juedes refused to sleep in the trailer even when the vehicle was parked at Monster Hall Raceway and Campground in Unity, which Ken Juedes co-owned.

Police point to money as the motive in Ken Juedes’ slaying and say Schulz-Juedes orchestrated her husband’s death in order to collect more than $1 million in insurance proceeds and cash from the sale of property, according to court records. 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.

Schulz-Juedes denies she profited from her husband’s death.

The property was sold for $200,000.

Further, the will itself is in question, as the attorney who allegedly prepared the document said the format differed from the type 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.

Jurors heard from more than a dozen witnesses including Juedes’ mother, 102-year-old Margaret Juedes, who was the first person to take the stand in the opening days of the trial.

One of five men Schulz-Juedes named as conspirators in the case, Brian Demler, also testified and told jurors that stories he told after Ken Juedes’ death claiming to be the getaway driver in the murder were untrue. Several witnesses said Demler claimed he drove three men to the Juedes’ home on the night he was killed. But in court testimony, Demler said he was in Green Bay the night of Juedes’ murder and concocted the story to get out of a drunken driving charge.

Butch Patrick Lilley, a Hollywood actor who portrayed Eddie Munster in the TV series “The Munsters” and another of the five men named by Schulz-Juedes, also testified in the trial. Lilley was briefly named in a 2012 National Enquirer story, since retracted, that detailed a so-called “confession” he gave regarding the murder. Lilley denies any involvement in the death but did know Juedes through appearances at Monster Hall.

Defense attorneys tried to point the finger at other suspects including Lilley and another of Juedes’ associates, Randall Landwehr, and said the people responsible for Juedes’ death were angry over a lost investment.

Schulz-Juedes took the stand in her own defense and said she was “terrorized” over what she saw when she found her husband dead in their home.

Autopsy results showed Juedes died of two gunshot wounds to the chest, police said, though the murder weapon has never been recovered. Police say Juedes was killed with a 20-gauge shotgun, the same type of weapon Schulz-Juedes’ former husband gave her when they were married. Schulz-Juedes claimed the shotgun was stolen, but had never reported it missing.

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 a 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.

Schulz-Juedes is facing life in prison if she is convicted on the homicide charge alone. She also faces a misdemeanor charge of obstructing an officer.

Jurors continued to deliberate as of 3:45 p.m. Tuesday.