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Testimony begins in Kendhammer appeal hearing

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Attorneys from both sides of a 2017 murder trial in La Crosse talked in court on Monday about the case, during a hearing on whether a new trial will be ordered for Todd Kendhammer. 

The West Salem man was found guilty of murdering his wife Barbara, but Kendhammer says Barbara was killed by a flying pipe that broke through a car window. 

District attorney Tim Gruenke questioned defense attorney Jacob Bednarek on Monday about the police theory that the odds were against a pipe killing Mrs. Kendhammer.

“I’m not aware of (the officer’s) training, beyond what he was trained as a law enforcement officer, but beyond that I’m not aware of any training that he has,” said Bednarek. “He may have a Ph.D. in physics, for all I know. I kinda doubt it.”

Bednarek also claimed the state “scrambled” to find non-existent motives for a murder which he believes didn’t happen. 

“Todd Kendhammer didn’t kill his wife,” said Bednarek. “It’s a complicated case, but the theory is he didn’t commit the crime, period.”

He added that “they didn’t have a cohesive ‘this is why it happened.’ They just thought he lost his temper, I suppose.”

A jury decided that Barbara Kendhammer was beaten to death, instead of being killed accidentally by a pipe that broke a car window.   

The appeals hearing in La Crosse County court is scheduled to continue with new witnesses on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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.

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