Eddie Munster was the character Butch Patrick played in the 1960s, on a television sitcom, but witness is the role he played in a Marathon County, Wisconsin courtroom Monday. The actor testified at the trial of Cindy Schulz-Juedes, who was accused of, and who has now been convicted of, the 2006 murder of her husband, Ken Juedes.
Butch Patrick was a surprise witness in the trial of Cindy Schulz-Juedes in a courtroom in Wausau, Wisconsin. The 67-year-old widow was arrested and charged with her husband’s murder in December 2019. The prosecution argued that she was motivated by a $1 million life insurance policy. On Tuesday, the jury found her guilty.
At the time of the murder, Juedes and Schulz-Juedes jointly owned a business called Monster Hall Raceway in Unity, Wisconsin, near Wausau.
It was Schulz-Juedes who reported the discovery of Juedes’ body on Aug. 30, 2006. To authorities she was a “person of interest” from the start.
An Alternative Theory of the 2006 Murder
The defense contention is that a group of five other people killed Juedes.
According to a Wisconsin television station, WSAW, the defense called Butch Patrick to the stand because it was trying to establish that he was part of that hypothetical plot. Another target of the defense theory was Randall Landwehr, who ran a brewery business.
Ken Juedes and Schulz-Juedes had sued Landwehr for fraud in connection with the land on which husband and wife ran the Monster Hall Raceway.
Butch Patrick was invested in Landwehr’s brewery business. He lost the value of that investment because of the Juedes and Schulz-Juedes’ victory in that civil lawsuit. This, on the defense theory, provided both of them with motive.
But the owners of the Monster Hall Trackway hadn’t stopped with the civil fraud victory. They had also asked the sheriff’s department to investigate Landwehr on a charge of criminal fraud. That investigation was still open when the murder took place.
The defense called the actor to the stand in the trial of the 2006 murder because they were trying to establish the existence of a Landwehr-led plot for revenge, or at least to render plausible their alternative theory of the case.
When the actor took the stand, he admitted to drinking and doing cocaine with the other men whom the defense accused of the murder. But he also said he had not been impaired on the night of Juedes’ death and was traveling at the time.
Crime lаb witnesses testified they found no evidence the five people accused by the defense were inside Juedes’ home. A fingerprint analysis specialist, Madelyne Weismantel, said that due to the “creаsing of fingers,” she couldn’t tell if the fingerprints recovered belonged to Schulz-Juedes either.
The prosecution and defense offered their closing arguments on Tuesday and Judge Michael Moran gave the jury its instructions. The prosecution argument emphasized that the killer likely knew the layout of the house that the defendant and the victim shared, and likely also knew how to work the security system. Schulz-Juedes knew such facts. She also knew that her husband was drunk on the night of the killing, and so not fully capable of self defense.
The jury announced, after about four and a half hours of deliberations, that it had a verdict. That verdict was guilty on first-degree intentional homicide. Such a conviction carries a mandatory life sentence in Wisconsin, a state that has no death penalty.
There will be a sentencing hearing (the date has not yet been set) but the only discretionary choice available to the court as to sentencing is whether Schulz-Juedes will have the possibility of parole.