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Kendhammer murder sentencing is WIZM’s No. 1 story of 2018

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FILE - Todd Kendhammer stands with his attorney after receiving a life sentence for his wife's murder.

Some of the biggest news stories of any year tend to involve crime, especially murders.

The sentencing of a La Crosse County man for the death of his wife stole headlines for weeks, and is the WIZM No. 1 news story of 2018.

Kendhammer

Todd Kendhammer was convicted in December of 2017 for the beating death of his wife Barb. In March, the West Salem, Wis., man was ordered to serve at least 30 years in prison before seeking a release.

Kendhammer still claims that Barb was killed accidentally by a metal pipe smashing through their car window.

Prosecutors, however, said evidence pointed to a fatal beating.

Kendhammer does have has until March 1, 2019, to file for an appeal of his conviction.

Judge Todd Bjerke said that the evidence of a fatal beating was “overwhelming.”

“To me you snapped on that date,” Bjerke said in court. “You lost it. Committed this horrific act. Barbara’s dead. And there’s the coverup after.”

Todd Kendhammer on the stand in La Crosse last December.

Kendhammer’s daughter Jessica Servais spoke at the sentencing.

“My dad is an amazing, kind and caring person,” she said. “And he’s been nothing but kind and caring to anyone he meets for my entire life.”

Kendhammer thanked family and friends for their support at the sentencing.

“I would like to say thank you to my family and friends for the support that they’ve offered and continue to offer.”

Also in 2018, another area man was charged with murder in the county.

Erik Sackett was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Erin Somvilai, and trying to sink her body in a Vernon County lake with concrete blocks.

Sackett is still awaiting trial.

Other homicide trials are scheduled in La Crosse in April. One case involves a fatal car crash near Holmen, while the other is connected to a deadly drug overdose.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.