A Michigan man has pleaded guilty to murdering his entire family so that would not have to deal with the heartbreak of his suicide, the Detroit Free Press is reporting.
Timothy Fradeneck, 38, of Eastpointe, Michigan, who murdered his wife and two children in their sleep with a USB cord, has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. Fradeneck pleaded guilty to multiple counts of first-degree murder and first degree child abuse, after claims he was mentally ill.
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Fradeneck said he was trying to get help from Medicare for his mental problems, but was struggling against a mesh of bureaucratic red tape. Reportedly, the agency had only offered to provide coverage for the children and not his mental health issues. It was during this time that he strangled his wife Christie, 37, his son, Timothy, 8, and his daughter, Celeste, 2, in their sleep.
“In the end I despaired of ever getting the help that I so desperately needed and my wife and two children died by my hand as a result. I failed myself when I failed to protect my family from myself. I let the despair that I felt in my head eclipse the love I felt in my heart.”
Fradeneck said he would use the rest of his life fighting for change in the mental health system.
Assistant Prosecutor William Cataldo said the crime “wasn’t about the mental health system but Fradeneck’s narcissism.” Judge Diane Druzinski, who pronounced the sentence, said “I do believe it was your failure completely from start to finish,” adding that “young children will never forget that their friend Timothy was murdered by his father.”
Sister of the deceased, Courtney Zanni, read a court statement Tuesday, saying “We don’t believe his stories. He’s a master storyteller. Christie was married to a monster.” She said the family never liked Fradeneck, describing him as lazy, arrogant, and a complete narcissist. She further explained that her sister was planning on leaving Fradeneck after “he told her he wasn’t going to go to work.” She said “killing her was the single most ambitious thing he had ever accomplished.”
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It was Zanni’s call that led police to discover the bodies. Zanni had been worried about her sister and children after not hearing from her for over 24 hours, and urged Eastpointe officers to make a welfare check at her home. A disheveled Fradeneck had opened the door for the officers and allowed them in, but insisted that his family were asleep. When the officers refused to leave, he confessed that “there is no need to because they are dead.”
Fradeneck told police he had tried to take his own life by ingesting a fatal dose of 28 tranquilizer pills and setting the house on fire. But he fell asleep before he could carry out the deed. Investigators found six smoke detectors piled on a chair without batteries in the master bedroom.
Fradeneck said he had been planning to kill his family after being released from a hospital in August, 2014. When prodded by detectives why he killed them at that particular time, he said “opportunity” because his wife and children were sleeping. He acknowledged that he did not think “they could deal with the heartache of him taking his own life, so by killing them, it was his attempt to spare them.”
He said he killed his wife first and his killing spree ended with his son, who “struggled a bit” as he was being choked to death. Fradeneck said he left a LEGO block in his son’s hand, telling him to “hold on and that it would be ok.” Fradeneck told investigators he chose to strangle them rather than stab them because he did not want to be cruel.
[Image via Shutterstock/Gong To]