James Krauseneck dies in prison, conviction to be vacated

James Krauseneck during his sentencing hearing (WROC screenshot)

James Krauseneck Jr., the 71-year-old New York man convicted of killing his wife with a single blow to the head from an ax more than 40 years ago, has died in prison while appealing his conviction.

Krauseneck’s death comes just a few months after a Monroe County jury in September 2022 found him guilty on one count of second-degree murder in the 1982 slaying of 29-year-old Cathleen Krauseneck.

However, because Krauseneck had already begun appealing his conviction and will not be able to see the appeal process through, his indictment and conviction for the murder of Cathleen Krauseneck will be vacated under state law, a common legal principle known as “abatement ab initio.”

Michael Wolford, Krauseneck’s defense attorney, reportedly confirmed to Rochester ABC affiliate WHAM-TV that Krauseneck was diagnosed with esophageal cancer while in prison, which led to drastic weight loss and ultimately caused his death.

“I was convinced he was innocent back on March 1, 1982, a few days after that murder, when I first met Jim and discussed this case with him, so my opinion hasn’t changed one iota, and I feel very bad it has ended in this fashion,” Wolford reportedly told the station.

James Krauseneck dies in prison, conviction to be vacated

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