On August 19, 2015, 40-year-old Janette Pigman-Kruse was shot in the chest and killed while in her bed at her home in Brewster, Minnesota, a small town northeast of Worthington. At the time, her husband Christopher Kruse called 911 and said an intruder had broken in and killed her.
The case stayed unsolved for over three years, with detectives remaining tight-lipped about the investigation and possible suspects. In March 2019, Pigman-Kruse’s husband was indicted by a grand jury and charged with first-degree premeditated murder, The Globe reported. The indictment was not made public so it wasn’t until Kruse’s trial that the evidence against Kruse was revealed, including that prosecutors said he was the only person with the motive to kill Pigman-Kruse.
Kruse’s trial took place in early 2020, at which point the prosecution called 37 witnesses to argue the case against him.
Law Enforcement Testified That No One Else Had the Motive to Kill Pigman-Kruse
During Kruse’s murder trial, prosecutors and their witnesses testified that he was the only one with a motive to kill Pigman-Kruse, The Globe reported. They said there was no evidence to show an intruder in the Kruse home the night of her murder, Kruse’s shotgun recovered from his shop was determined to be the murder weapon and he also gave law enforcement false information, prosecutors said.
In terms of motive, before her death, in the summer of 2015, northern Minnesota’s Spider Lake Resort was put for sale and Kruse was interested in purchasing it, prosecutors said. They alleged that Kruse was interested in Pigman-Kruse’s $150,000 in life insurance since he didn’t have enough capital to purchase it himself. During the trial, Kruse’s insurance agent said that Kruse had called regularly every few months to get an update on receiving his wife’s life insurance.
Prosecutors also argued that their K9 dogs did not find an intruder’s scent trail, The Globe reported from the trial. No evidence was found of an intruder, and the shotgun used to kill Pigman-Kruse was recovered from Kruse’s shop, which was only a minute’s drive away from the house.
The outlet reported that during the trial, investigators said Kruse provided law enforcement with false information about the night of the murder. He said he was in bed next to his wife when she was shot, but he wasn’t covered in her blood, which would have been the case if he was in bed. A neighbor also witnessed the couple arguing on a walk a few hours before Pigman-Kruse was killed, prosecutors told the court.
At the end of the trial, the jury found Kruse not guilty of the first- or second-degree murder of his wife.
There Were No Other Suspects Investigated & the Case Is Now Closed
After Kruse was acquitted of his wife’s murder, he requested that his record of being charged with first-degree murder and jury trial be expunged. That would mean it would no longer appear in a background check or other situations.
During the hearing for expungement, Senior Special Agent Derek Woodford, the detective with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension who investigated the case testified that there are no other suspects or leads in the case, The Globe reported.
A spokesperson for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also told Heavy in an emailed statement that the Pigman-Kruse case is now officially closed.