Defense brings its first witnesses forward in Cindy Schulz-Juedes murder trial
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The prosecution rested and the defense witnesses began testifying Thursday in the murder trial of Cindy Schulz-Juedes in Marathon County court.
The day began with the defense having the opportunity to cross-examine the prosecution’s last witness, Marathon County Sheriff Det. Dennis Blaser. Wednesday, the prosecution had used Blaser’s testimony to layout inconsistencies in Schulz-Juedes’ statements and interviews with investigators since her husband, Ken Juedes’ death in August of 2006. Thursday, the defense worked to show that her stories are, largely, consistent, especially as it relates to the timeline and activities she did just before she says she discovered Juedes’ body the morning of Aug. 30.
“She sees his shoes. She sees that he didn’t make coffee. She sees that he didn’t make lunch, so she goes into the bedroom and finds her husband correct,” Earl Gray, the defense attorney asked Det. Blaser.
“I don’t believe in all of them that she mentioned about lunch, but other than that, yes.”
“Other than that, they’re all pretty consistent,” asked Gray.
Wednesday, Det. Blaser, who came onto the case in 2016, showed maps depicting four different routes which he created after reviewing recorded interviews with Schulz-Juedes over the years. Gray noted that not all of the interviews she gave were recorded, so Det. Blaser could be missing consistent information. He also pressed on the last interview he conducted in 2019 that he did not disclose that she was being recorded and that the other investigator with him said he was not the one recording. However, Det. Blaser said she told him it did not matter if they were recording.
Once the cross-examination was completed, the defense brought its first witnesses, including some friends of the Juedes who testified that Juedes and Schulz-Juedes were very in love. They also noted that Schulz-Juedes did not look well about a week before Juedes’ murder, testimony which is meant to add credibility to Schulz-Juedes’ statements about her health leading up to the day of the murder.
The defense is also trying to establish that five other people killed Juedes. The defense says the motive is that the Juedes had sued Randall Landwehr for fraud on the land where the Monster Hall Raceway was that the Juedes owned. The financial suit closed in the spring of 2006, but the Juedes had tried to file for criminal charges, involving the Clark County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the same fraud claim and that investigation was active through Juedes’ death.
The accusation the defense is making is that Landwehr and people who were financially invested in Landwehr’s business killed him. Brian Demler is included in the five people accused.
In investigative documents, people told detectives while Demler was drunk, Demler had told them that he was the getaway driver in Juedes’ murder. The story he told was that Demler drove the four other individuals the defense has accused to Juedes’ home, went inside, shot Juedes, and a short time later came running out to the car. Several who testified stated they either did not remember Demler saying this, he did not say this to them, or that they did not believe him because he was often drunk and known to lie.
Demler also told the same story of that night to an investigator while he was in jail facing a drunk driving charge, which Demler said would keep him locked up for five years. Demler said he was lying about that night.
“I wanted to, you know, get out of jail and I told McCarthy what I did just to get on a signature bond so I could get out of jail. I just wanted, I wanted the drunk driving to go away and my way of thinking back then with the drugs and alcohol, ‘once they do their investigation, they’ll realize I was in Green Bay and had nothing to do with it. By that time, the drunk driving is long-gone, I got away out of drunk driving, life is good again.’”
Demler was convicted of that drunk driving offense.
Another one of the people the defense accused of being part of the group that killed Juedes, Gary Upton, refuted any involvement. He said he was shocked when he heard that Demler was telling people that story. He gave an alibi for that evening Juedes was killed.
Both Upton and Demler were offered immunity to testify in this case.
The defense also brought a friend of Juedes’ on the stand who said about a week before Juedes’ death, he had gone out to the Monster Hall Raceway to grab some of his things and asked the friend, John Pollnow, to come with him. Pollnow said he looked nervous being on the property, which was the same property involved in the Landwehr fraud case.
The defense will continue to bring forward more witnesses Friday morning.
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