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Prosecution focuses on Schulz-Juedes’ inconsistencies over time with its final witness

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:19 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The prosecution was focused on showing the defendant’s inconsistencies over time as it brought its final witness in the murder trial of Cindy Schulz-Juedes.

Since the trial began last week at the Marathon County Courthouse, the prosecution has presented numerous witnesses, many of whom are considered expert witnesses who could confirm, explain, and clarify evidence and documents that are part of the case. Most of those witnesses had been part of the investigation into the murder of Schulz-Juedes’ husband, Ken Juedes, from the beginning in August of 2006. The prosecution’s final witness came to testify Wednesday afternoon. Det. Dennis Blaser with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office was a fresh set of eyes and began assisting the investigation later, beginning in spring of 2016.

His interview with Schulz-Juedes in 2019 highlighted inconsistencies in her statements to investigators previously, either completely contradicting her statements or slowly changing them as investigators continued to ask questions over the years.

When Schulz-Juedes was first asked to describe how she and her husband used the surveillance cameras they had outside of their home, she said they left them on. She noted that in her initial interview with investigators as well as one later in 2006. In the 2019 interview with Det. Blaser, she said they would regularly turn their surveillance system on and off because Juedes did not like the humming noise the monitor inside of the home made.

What stayed consistent between her statements related to the surveillance system was that it was unplugged on Aug. 24, just days before Juedes’ death. She said it was unplugged because Juedes had called Schulz-Juedes from the Medford Hospital Pharmacy where he was working to tell her to unplug it and other things because storms were headed toward their home and he had concerns about things blowing up and starting a fire.

Det. Blaser said investigators went through the phone records for both their cell phones and their landline. There was a call from the hospital’s general number at 1:57 p.m. to the landline on Aug. 24. However, because it was the general number, detectives could not say with certainty whether the call came from the pharmacy or from a doctor elsewhere in the hospital, which Schulz-Juedes had told investigators also happened that day. The surveillance video showed a dry driveway at that time. Light rain showed up on surveillance around 3 p.m. The last video captured on the surveillance camera that day ended at 6:59 p.m. Det. Blaser said the 1:57 p.m. call from the hospital was the last call to the home that day.

Schulz-Juedes’ reasons for staying the camper the night of Juedes’ death also shifted by 2019. The day after Juedes was found dead, then-Capt. Greg Bean with the sheriff’s office testified that Schulz-Juedes told investigators she slept in the camper because had been having migraine pain days before. By Det. Blaser’s interview in 2019, stated Juedes encouraged her to stay out there one more night to make sure she was feeling well, though she said she had been feeling a little better. When asked in a different form about why she slept out there during that 2019 interview, she said because it was quiet and that Juedes had wanted to watch TV in their bedroom and she wanted to let them do that. She told investigators she also did not want to sleep in either of the two bedrooms upstairs or in the bed in the basement because she did not want to sleep in the beds that were typically used for when they hosted foster children.

What she recalled hearing or not hearing the night of Juedes’ murder also changed over time. Initially, she told investigators she had not heard anything, though she had dreamed that she heard their dog barking. Later she said she had thought that she had dreamt about her dog barking that night and thinking that the only reason it would bark would be to bark at people. Then, she thought she heard their dog bark and also thought that she should pick up food for it because that is the only reason the dog would be barking. In the final interview with investigators, she told them she did hear the dog barking and the barking turned into a yelp. When asked if she went to check on the dog, she said she did not because the yelp meant that it wanted food.

Det. Blaser also listened back to Schulz-Juedes’ accounts of what she did the next morning on Aug. 30 from all of the interviews she had with investigators over the years. In 2017, he made maps of the paths she said she took (with the defense noting that the complete paths were not always certain, something the detective also noted). There were ultimately four different maps of the paths she took for various accounts of that morning.

Another discrepancy that morning, Schulz-Juedes told investigators in the initial interview that she had taken Tylenol PM that morning just before finding Juedes’ body. In the 2019 interview, Det. Blaser asked if she took Tylenol PM in general and she said no, she would take Alieve if she had pain and wanted to sleep. He asked her if she would take Tylenol PM during the day. Det. Blaser read his transcript of their interview, with Schulz-Juedes responding:

“Tylenol PM is something that would put you to sleep. Det. Blaser: Yep. Cindy Juedes: I wouldn’t take that during the day. Det. Blaser: OK because you told our deputies right away that morning that you took it in the morning. Cindy Juedes: That I took Tylenol PM in the morning? Det. Blaser: Yeah. Cindy Juedes: Maybe I did. I don’t know. I don’t know.”

The judge ended the trial day by 4:30 p.m. stating that the defense could cross-examine Det. Blaser’s testimony Thursday morning. After the cross-examination, the defense will begin presenting its witnesses.

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