Were possible injuries to a woman’s body the result of a murder, an accident, or other actions?
It’s an important question in the case of Todd Kendhammer, who’s appealing a murder conviction in the death of his wife Barbara.
At an appeal hearing Tuesday in La Crosse, Illinois pathologist Dr. Shaku Teas was skeptical of autopsy findings which were used at Kendhammer’s trial in 2017.
Teas says bruises and other apparent injuries might have resulted from attempts to save Barbara’s life, or from organ donation procedures.
“I would have definitely educated (jurors) about CPR and organ donation and the artifacts that they cause,” she said.
Teas says looking for Todd’s DNA on Barbara’s body wouldn’t prove charges that he physically attacked her.
“When you’re dealing with a spouse, the value is not there,” said Teas, “and so sometimes, we’ll do it just to please a police officer, or the investigating agency.”
The appeal attorneys also presented testimony about faulty memory, casting doubt on trial testimony such as a claim by one witness that he saw the Kendhammer car without any damage to the windshield which supposedly was hit by the pipe. The argument is that the witness might have been distracted by seeing an open car door, and didn’t actually notice the windshield.
Testimony in the appeal hearing before Judge Todd Bjerke is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday.