Prosecutor: Eastpointe man used USB cord to kill wife, 2 children

Eastpointe — The husband held in connection with the slaying of his wife and two young children admitted to the killings and faces a total of seven charges including three counts of first-degree, premeditated murder.

Timothy Fradeneck, 38, also is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree child abuse.

He is being held without bond at the Macomb County Jail.

Fradeneck, dressed in baby-blue prison clothes, was emotionless. He said very little and what he did say was virtually inaudible during his appearance before 38th District Judge Carl Gerds III in Eastpointe.
Before the arraignment, both sides of the family embraced each other and cried.

"Here we are again ... another horrific crime and this might be the worst we've seen. It is certainly the worst we have seen in a long time," said Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith after the arraignment. "I think we have to go back to 2008 since we had two children murdered at the same time."

Fradeneck told police he strangled his wife, Christie Fradeneck, 37; their son, Timothy, 8, and daughter, Celeste, 2, using a USB cord while they slept sometime between Sunday and Monday, Smith said after the arraignment. The bodies were discovered lying in their beds.

Fradeneck told police he had been planning the homicides since August but didn't give a motive, Smith said.
As to why he chose to take the lives of his wife and children, Smith said Fradeneck told police, "the opportunity presented itself."

During the arraignment, a Judge Gerds entered a not guilty plea on Fradeneck's behalf. Fradeneck then said he had tried to kill himself and requested a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
"I tried to kill myself, sir," he said.

Gerds set a probable cause conference for April 28
Officers found medication prescribed to Fradeneck inside the home, Smith said. It is unclear what the medication was prescribed to treat.

Autopsies have been completed on Christie Fradeneck and Timothy, Lt. Neil Childs said Wednesday morning.

Childs said he could not comment on the results until an autopsy is completed on Celeste.
Officers were sent to the home on the 22000 block of Cushing about 7 p.m. Monday to "check on the welfare of the residents," Lt. Dave Ernatt said. Childs said the woman's sister called police after she couldn't reach her sister, stopped by the home and saw cars in the driveway but didn't get an answer at the door.
Timothy Fradeneck was at the home when the bodies were found.

When police arrived at the home, Fradeneck answered the door. He first told police his wife and children were asleep, Smith said. When police demanded to see them, Fradeneck invited them in and then admitted he killed them. He surrendered to police without incident.

Smith said Fradeneck was taken into custody and checked by medics who found no injuries and no indication that he had tried to commit suicide. He was allowed to sleep for up to 8 hours and then talked again with police.

Childs has said police weren't looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.
Meanwhile, Fradeneck's family issued a statement to Detroit TV stations saying "this is a very close and loving family and their utter shock and grief cannot even be put into words." The statement went on to say there was no history of domestic violence in the home and the family is cooperating fully with police.
"The family is hopeful that the justice system will prevail and the person responsible for this will be punished to the fullest extent of the law," the statement read.

Friends set up a GoFundMe page to cover funeral expenses, which has raised almost $20,000 by Wednesday afternoon. The person who created the page is identified as Courtney Zanni, who said on the page: "It is with deepest sympathy to create this account to help with funeral costs for our beloved Christie, Tre(y), and Celeste ... who were taken from us too soon!"

Timothy Fradeneck was ordered to undergo counseling six years ago after being arrested for domestic violence against his brother, according to police and court records.

Court records show he was arrested by Eastpointe police for domestic violence April 13, 2009. He was charged with domestic violence/domestic assault and pleaded not guilty during his April 13, 2009, arraignment before 38th District Judge Carl Gerds III. He posted $5,000 bond.

During a pre-trial hearing May 1, 2009, Fradeneck cut a deal for the reduced charge of disorderly person, court records show. He was fined $403, and given one year of probation.

As part of his probation terms, Fradeneck had to undergo therapy, avoid being arrested again, have "no similar conduct" and "no assaultive behavior," court records show. His case was dismissed without prejudice April 30, 2010, after he successfully completed the probation, according to court records. A dismissal without prejudice means the case can be retried.

The couple filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January 2011 after experiencing financial problems, according to court documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District.

Christie Fradeneck owned a Clinton Township salon called Blonde Ambition and her husband had been unemployed for several years, according to the bankruptcy filing.

Including the deaths of Christie, Timothy and Celeste Fradeneck, Macomb County has had 16 homicides this year, five of them children, said Smith.

"I don't know what to do to get in front of this other than tell people and the general public that we need to be more involved as a community," he said. "When you are worried about family members in domestic violence situations or concerned about a child in a home, we can all get involved."

While Smith said there was no pattern of domestic violence between Fradeneck and his wife, he added that if violence or abuse is suspected the public can contact police, the Department of Human Services or Mount Clemens' Turning Point, which serves to end domestic and sexual violence.

"It breaks my heart," said Smith. "I am a father of three kids, roughly these kids' ages, all under the age of 10. When I got that call Monday night ... I spent a lot of time with my kids, hugging them."
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