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Schulz-Juedes charged with 2006 murder of husband

In the criminal complaint filed against Cindy Schulz-Juedes last Friday, police investigators describe a disturbing dream relayed to them by the woman now charged with first-degree homicide in the 2006 murder of her husband, Ken Juedes.

“Cindy Juedes told investigators that she had had a dream about dogs barking, Kenneth looking at her and spitting up blood, and hearing two loud booms which sounded like steel doors shutting,” the complaint states. “Based on detective (Dennis) Blaser’s training and experience with death scene investigations, the dream that Cindy Juedes described is consistent with the observations of the scene.” The sound of barking dogs echoes testimony from a neighbor who said his dogs were barking the night of the Juedes homicide on Maple Road in the town of Hull. The “two loud booms” are presumably the sound of the shotgun blasts that ended Ken Juedes’ life, and the other grisly details match up with forensic evidence from Ken’s autopsy, according to the complaint.

As part of the seven-page criminal complaint filed on Dec. 13, authorities divulged several previously unreleased details, including many from the morning of Aug. 30, 2006, when Cindy told two sets of neighbors that she found her husband in bed, covered in blood.

Juedes-Schulz, 65, of Chippewa Falls has officially been charged with first-degree homicide and remains in Marathon County Jail on a $1 million bond. Her attorney, Earl Gray, argued that she should be released to her daughter under supervision by probation and parole, but judge Mike Moran rejected this idea at an initial appearance in Marathon County Circuit Court on Dec. 13. Given the seriousness of the charge against her, the judge said she has a strong incentive to flee the area before the case is concluded.

The prosecution, represented by district attorney Theresa Wetzsteon and Dick DuFour of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, also pointed out that Schulz-Juedes has another daughter living in Germany and could obtain a passport.

In arguing for his client’s conditional release, Gray also tried to poke holes in the prosecution’s case.

“I don’t believe the case is that strong...” he said. “They’ve got circumstantial evidence. We have explanations for enough of it for an acquittal I believe.”

When Schulz-Juedes was arrested on Nov. 27 of this year, the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department announced that a search warrant had been executed, but that was not mentioned in the criminal complaint. It remains unclear at this point what new information, if any, led police to arrest Schulz-Juedes 13 years after the murder was committed. She has long been considered a “person of interest” in the case, but she also has repeatedly denied any involvement in her husband’s murder in media interviews.

The criminal complaint points to multiple conflicting statements Juedes-Schulz has provided to police over the years and also highlights the financial gains she received in the wake of her husband’s death.

These include a total of $950,000 in life insurance policies and $200,000 from the sale of 80 acres of land that previously belonged to Ken’s parents. According to the complaint, Schulz-Juedes never reached out to Ken’s parents before selling the land, which they had deeded to her and Ken in February of 2006.

It also raises the prospect that Schulz-Juedes may have forged her husband’s signature on a will, purportedly drawn up in October 2004, that left his entire estate to her. According to a handwriting expert consulted by Ken’s sister, Laurie, Ken’s signature is “probably not genuine.” In addition, the attorney who allegedly wrote the will, Frank Nikolay, told police that the document was not in the format his office normally used. A friend of Ken’s also gave a sworn statement that he was not a witness to Ken signing the document, despite claims to the contrary.

Investigators also picked apart statements Schulz-Juedes provided to police on the morning her husband was found murdered. For instance, she claimed that she had slept outside in a camper on the property, instead of in bed with Ken, the night he was shot. However, a detective pointed out that, based on crime scene photos, all of the windows to the camper were closed and there was no air conditioning on a night with a high temperature of 79 degrees, which would have made the inside of the camper “extremely warm.”

Schulz-Juedes also claimed she was unable to dial 911 from her house because the cordless phones in her bedroom and the kitchen were emitting a “screaming” sound when she tried to call. A phone was left off the hook in the garage, but the telephone company told police that the other phones would have gone silent just 45 seconds after the garage phone was left off the hook. The police also noted that Schulz-Juedes had her cell phone available at the house, and she should have been able to get a signal. Instead, she went to the houses of two different neighbors, who each called 911.

Police also zeroed in on Schulz-Juedes’s demeanor in the immediate aftermath of finding her husband shot dead.

“During the initial interview with Cindy Juedes, the officers noted that she showed little or no observable emotion. Her appearance was clean and well groomed,” the complaint states. “When informed that Kenneth Juedes was deceased, Cindy Juedes showed some visible signs of grief but her behavior was very lethargic.”

Schulz-Juedes did say she was on antibiotics, Oxycondone painkillers and Tylenol PM at the time of the murder, and her defense attorney mentioned that at last Friday’s hearing as an explanation for his client’s apparent lack of emotion.

The criminal complaint also revealed that Ken was drunk at the time he was killed, with a blood-alcohol of .192, over twice the legal limit. This was despite the fact that Schulz-Juedes told police that her husband had “at most two beers” that night. The report also noted that Ken’s mother had offered him a beer earlier in the day, and he declined.

One of the more cryptic pieces of evidence mentioned in the complaint was a note pinned to a pillow in Ken’s bed with a kitchen knife. The word “bitch” was written on it, and a handwriting analysis could “not include or exclude” Ken as the writer. A DNA sample found on the note was used to exclude other suspects, but it could not rule out Cindy, according to the complaint.

The complaint also addressed the issue of the murder weapon, which has never been found. According to police, Schulz-Juedes had received a Western Field 20 gauge pump shotgun from a divorce from her previous husband in 2002. Ken’s son told police that he had seen the gun, and it was similar to one owned by his father, though it was a newer model.

During a recent interview, on Oct. 24 of this year, Schulz-Juedes told a detective that Ken’s son had stolen her gun. Back in September of 2006, she told a different detective that the gun had “gone missing” in April of 2005. However, the detective who interviewed her in October said she never reported the gun stolen even though Marathon County deputies had been called to the Juedes residence 10 times between April 1, 2005, and August 29, 2006.

Still, the attorney representing Schulz-Juedes said she has never left the area even though she has long been considered a “person of interest,” and has always cooperated with law enforcement when they questioned her.

“Maybe they didn’t like the answers, but those were the answers she gave,” Gray said.

Judge Moran told Gray that his client would be given ample opportunity to mount a defense.

“I can assure you that the presumption of innocence is not lost in this court,” he said.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for this Friday, Dec. 20, at the courthouse in Wausau.