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Eastpointe — Timothy Fradeneck, accused of strangling his wife and two small children earlier this month, appeared in 38th District Court Tuesday for a probable cause conference.

Steven Kaplan, Fradeneck’s lawyer, and Bill Cataldo, Macomb County assistant prosecutor, asked Judge Carl Gerds III to schedule a preliminary exam for May 26 at the same court.

Fradeneck was charged April 15 with three counts of first-degree, premeditated murder, two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree child abuse.

Police said the 37-year-old father told authorities he strangled his wife, Christie Fradeneck, 37, their son, Timothy, 8, and daughter, Celeste, 2, with a USB cord between April 12 and April 13 while they slept.

Fradeneck told police he had been planning the homicides since August but didn’t give a motive, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said early this month.

As to why he chose to take the lives of his wife and children earlier this month, Smith said Fradeneck told police, “the opportunity presented itself.”

Fradeneck said he had tried to kill himself and requested a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Officers found medication prescribed to Fradeneck inside the home, Smith said. It is unclear what the medication was prescribed to treat.

Officers were sent to the home in the 22000 block of Cushing about 7 p.m. April 13 to check on the residents after Christie Fradeneck’s sister couldn’t reach her sibling. When police arrived at the home, Timothy Fradeneck answered the door. He told police his wife and children were asleep, Smith said. When police demanded to see them, he invited them in and then admitted he had killed them, Smith said. He surrendered to police without incident.

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

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

To cover funeral expenses, friends set up a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $37,000 by Tuesday.

Fradeneck was ordered to undergo counseling six years ago after his arrest for alleged domestic violence against his brother, according to police and court records. His case was dismissed without prejudice after he completed a year of probation.

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

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

UWatson@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2613

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