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Woman believed shot by son dies

Her husband died a day before. Her son, accused of pulling the trigger, faces two counts of first-degree murder.


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 11, 2001

BROOKSVILLE -- Gertrude Krause spent the last days of her life trying to keep peace between her son and her husband. But no one realized how volatile the family feud had grown, neighbors said.

Mrs. Krause, 67, died Tuesday morning at Bayfront Medical Center, a day after police say her son, John Ernest Krause, got "fed up" with his parents' nagging, pulled out a .22-caliber handgun and shot each in the head at their home west of Brooksville. Edward Krause, 70, died Monday at the home while his wife clung to life throughout the night.

The son, 35, lived in a small mobile home on his parents' property, 8135 Madison St., and now sits in the Hernando County Jail, facing two counts of first-degree murder and a possible death sentence. Investigators say he calmly called 911 and turned himself in after the double shooting and has been "very cooperative."

"He was very calm and very matter of fact about it. He told our detectives that he got tired of (his parents) arguing with him and constantly telling him to get a job. So he decided to put an end to it," sheriff's spokeswoman Deanna Dammer said.

Dammer said authorities have no idea whether the son suffers from mental illness, although John Krause told them he had been depressed and pondered killing his father and himself one week ago.

At the time, deputies say, he took his father's gun out of Mr. Krause's dresser drawer -- an action that has resulted in an additional count of grand theft against the son.

Officials say John Krause woke up about 12:30 p.m. Monday and walked across the lawn to his parents' mobile home to get a cup of coffee. Two arguments then broke out between the father and son, a report said.

After the second, authorities said John Krause snapped, went back to his mobile home for his father's gun and walked up to his father, who was standing outside between the house and shed. He shot his father once in the side of the head and twice in the body, arrest records said. John Krause then strode past his father's body, entered his parents' mobile home and shot his mother in the head, deputies said.

Next, he went back to his home, reloaded the gun, and walked to a neighbor's house on Webster Street, where police say he called 911 and peacefully surrendered to deputies.

Family members of the Krauses' declined to comment Tuesday, as did John Krause.

Friends described Edward and Gertrude Krause as a close, loving couple nearing their 50th wedding anniversary. Their main concern was their son, who most recently worked as a laborer for Able Body Day Labor in Brooksville; his employers did not return calls for comment.

Mrs. Krause grew up in New York and came to Florida with her husband in the late 1960s. Records show the couple lived in Pinellas County before moving to their small mobile home off a dirt road in a rural Hernando County neighborhood.

Until Christmas, Mrs. Krause worked as a nurse's assistant with Loving Care In Home Services of Spring Hill.

Janet Gramann, patient coordinator for Loving Care, described Mrs. Krause as a soft-spoken woman with endless patience and heart.

"She had an excellent, excellent personality, always upbeat, and went the extra mile for her patients -- putting in extra hours and doing things on her own time," Gramann said.

Gramann added that Mrs. Krause kept her personal life to herself and no one knew she had family problems, although she had recently taken a leave of absence from work.

"She was the type of person who took care of people with problems, not the type who had them," the coordinator said. "She was private."

Edward Krause worked for a Pinellas County company building and repairing boats before he retired. He served in the Air Force and grew up on Staten Island. He was known in his neighborhood for woodworking, train sets and other projects he made for his house and lawn.

According to records, John Krause moved in with his parents in 1999. Before that, he lived at various addresses in Pinellas County. John Krause has no prior criminal record, nor did his parents.

Monday's tragedy was not the first time deputies had been to their property, however. According to records, officials visited in September 1999 after John Krause called police. The younger Krause told deputies his father had hit him in the chest with his cane because he was taking too long to get ready for work one morning.

The elder Krause said he had pointed the cane at John, who grabbed it and started a struggle. Because of conflicting statements, deputies made no arrests, Dammer said.

Neighbor Grace Couch said father and son "fought about everything and anything."

"The mother just tried to keep the peace between the two of them."

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