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Testimony has concluded, and closing arguments are scheduled today in the La Crosse, Wisconsin murder trial of Todd Kendhammer. Prosecutors allege he killed his wife, Barbara, then made up a story about a freak car accident to explain his wife’s injuries. The defendant told authorities and later testified that a pipe fell off a truck, crashed through the windshield of the car he was driving, and that his wife, who was in the passenger seat, flailed around and was severely injured. Barbara Kendhammer later died at the hospital. The defendant said he could not explain the extent or severity of his wife’s injuries.
The defense case centered on a professor in biomechanics and a doctor in emergency medicine who testified that Barbara Kendhammer’s injuries could have been caused by the pipe. A medical examiner previously testified for the state that the injuries could not have been consistent with a pipe strike. The defendant took the stand and contradicted his previous story about what he was up to the morning his wife was injured. He initially told investigators he was going to check out a truck that needed a new windshield. When the owner of that truck ultimately said he had no plans to replace it and had no clue Kendhammer was going to stop by that day, Kendhammer said he was confused and was actually going to check out a different truck. On rebuttal, the state called the owner of the second truck, who said he had no plans to meet with Kendhammer that day and did not keep the keys to his truck inside the truck. Kendhammer had earlier said he was going to pick up a truck whose owner left the keys inside it.
Kendhammer’s son and daughter also testified for the defense. Curiously, another witness testified that she saw a pipe similar to the one found in the Kendhammer windshield by the side of the road not far from where Kendhammer said the pipe crashed through his windshield.
The jury is expected to get the case today. The jury will be sequestered overnight if deliberations stretch across several days.
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