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Judge turns down Kendhammer murder appeal; case could still go to a higher court

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A La Crosse County judge has turned down Todd Kendhammer’s request for a new murder trial, in the death of his wife Barbara.

Court records show that Judge Todd Bjerke issued an order this week, denying the West Salem man’s claim that the defense was faulty at his local trial. Bjerke’s ruling can be appealed to a higher court.

Kendhammer was found guilty of fatally beating Barbara along a rural highway in September of 2016, allegedly faking a car accident to explain her injuries. Kendhammer claimed that a metal pipe fell off a passing truck and smashed through his car windshield, striking his wife.

In 2017, a La Crosse jury convicted Kendhammer, and he’s serving a life term in prison. Bjerke’s ruling this week followed a three-day evidence hearing last August to support an appeal, with much of the testimony backing the pipe theory.

At least two national TV news shows have done reports on the Kendhammer case. In January, “48 Hours” on CBS devoted an entire program to the case, including video speculating how a pipe could have crashed into the windshield.  

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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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. V.H.

    June 5, 2022 at 3:53 pm

    This so-called man, lies so many times, I was stunned. He can’t complete a sentence without lying. His and Barbs family should be so ashamed of themselves. I can only assume they all want the free labor he can provide. If he was my father, I would hang my head low. Barbs brother does not want to shovel snow, repair toilets, etc., so he will protect the man who would kill his sister. Why was he so afraid to tell his wife he was doing the night shift? Many times in the recordings, he states, ” She does not like being alone”, but yet he is working nights for 3 months. Of course she did not know. I am so relieved, he did not ask for a lawyer. We where all able to see, hear, this person lie, constantly. He will be a perfect prisoner and get out after 30 years. What the family is indicating, by their actions, they did not like or care for Barb. At least not as much.

    • Diana L Grandin

      August 22, 2022 at 7:48 am

      It’s so obvious that he killed his wife. Poor Barb, only one person spoke up for her in the family! Hard to believe that he has so many supporters. He deserves to be in prison. He must have put her through Hell behind closed doors and she finally got tired of him so he beat her to death. A bully!

    • Maxine Stirling Dawe

      September 4, 2022 at 5:09 pm

      I watched this on television today.

      This man is innocent.

      The evidence is so flakey against him.

      I do pray he gets another chance to prove his innocence. His children

      And wife love him. May he be returned rightfully to his Family.

      • LD

        September 19, 2022 at 11:10 pm

        I think he is innocent. I think the sunglasses scratched her forehead and the back of her head and the cup crushed her trachea

      • LI

        October 2, 2022 at 11:16 pm

        There is surveillance proof there was no truck. He says he thought it was a bird? He can’t get the story straight of where it came from…he says it came from a tree at one point. Barb I’d never late for work and calls her mom every morning but mom gets no call and she doesn’t call work to say she will be late. He’s guilty as all hell. Barb Kendhammer was likely injured way before he even hit her with that pipe. If someone really had been out driving with pipes on their truck, that someone would have come forward. There wasn’t anyone, it’s all lies.

      • Vee

        November 15, 2022 at 1:40 pm

        I will respect your opinion, however please watch it again. Evidently, he had no idea he was being taped and recorded, throughout the entire process. There is no question he had lied many times. Lied about her work schedule, where he is going, he never mentioned he was going to work that night.
        Think about a pipe coming at you, with the speed of 100 miles an hour, she would have not had the time to duck, that’s just silly. Don’t forget the scratches on his face, and there are obviously, finger nail
        scratches. I truly believe he waited till the last minute to tell her he was due to go to work that night and for 3 months. He knew her response would be out of control. He said, at the scene, so many times, that she’s never alone, she does not like being alone. You do not need to be a detective to understand what must have happened. I can only assume, Barbra had issues, and the family gave him a pass. Which is even more SICK. The kids, I can understand, but the brother defending him, is pathetic. You need to re-watch. The evidence was awesome. Great police work. Better than great prosecution.

  2. AF

    July 26, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    I feel terrible for Barb..poor defenseless woman whom no one supported in court! Didn’t her children care about her!? Weren’t they angry that evidence clearly showed the father was lying? All she must have done for those kids…. And in the end,they acted like she didn’t even matter. It reminds me of The Staircase murder. Those kids stuck up for the father too. How shocking!!
    I’m so sorry Barb,for you. Rest In Peace,in Jesus loving Arms.

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