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After national coverage for La Crosse Kendhammer murder case, DA waiting for next step in appeals process



The TV news show “48 Hours” placed a national spotlight on a La Crosse County murder case in January but it didn’t result in any new tips to the district attorney’s office. 

District Attorney Tim Gruenke appeared in the CBS program about the Todd Kendhammer trial. 

Gruenke, on La Crosse Talk PM last week, commented about a video shown on 48 Hours, which wasn’t included as evidence in the Kendhammer trial five years ago.

“The sheriff’s department ran some experiments to just kinda see what happened when a pipe is falling off of a truck from different heights, different speeds,” Gruenke said. “The defense didn’t want those played in the trial, and I agreed.”

The trial jury ruled that Kendhammer’s wife Barbara was murdered in 2016 and was not killed by a flying metal pipe hitting their car and crashing through the windshield.

Both Gruenke and the defense attorneys are preparing briefs for an upcoming court hearing which could determine if the case is appealed.

The Kendhammer case also was the subject of a recent program on the Headline News cable channel.

Gruenke thinks the 48 Hours report was accurate but left much of the story untold because of time constraints during an hour-long program.

What’s next in the case?

“Now, we’re just waiting for the arguments to be submitted by the attorneys, and then the judge will make a ruling on whether or not (Kendhammer’s) trial attorneys were effective or not,” Gruenke said. “And if he rules that they were ineffective, he didn’t get a fair trial, then (the judge) could order a new trial.”

If Judge Todd Bjerke says the attorneys were effective, the case could be sent to appeals court. The next hearing could happen in April or May.


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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