Connect with us


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



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.

Continue Reading


  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

        • Mavis Green

          November 25, 2022 at 11:21 am

          Absolutely! I agree! The police didn’t do nearly enough work on this case! She could have moved around after it hit her and have caused all the injuries including things in the car that became projectiles

      • 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.

        • Robert Weidman

          October 31, 2023 at 4:25 am

          I personally think she cheated on him while he was gone for long periods of time, and became enraged, then snapped. Obviously witness saw no one, and no damage to windshield when passing their car. With no explanation as to who’s windshield repair job he was enroute to. Guilty as charged! How their kid’s couldn’t see this is beyond me. He snapped and killed her!

      • Mavis Green

        November 25, 2022 at 11:19 am

        I agree! There’s no evidence! Even the street cameras were taken from so far away, the truck the pipe came from could easily had turned off somewhere in between. I’m always the first to assign guilt when I’m watching a case, but this one seemed wrong.

        • DM_McCann

          June 21, 2023 at 5:35 pm

          ????????????????????????! I’ve been in a serious accident where if I’d been interrogated directly afterward, I doubt that I could have remembered some of the details. I was lucky that it was very clear that the other driver had caused it.
          Human nature is often thrown off balance after a shocking accident, & many people will often try to “fill in the blanks”, which can result in incorrect recollections of some events.
          I’d have been surprised by the verdict, if we didn’t have a legal system designed to make everyone look guilty.

        • Diana Lee Grandin

          September 11, 2023 at 4:51 pm

          Todd LIED about the pipe!If there WAS a truck that that pipes in the back and a pipe rolled out , how would it fly through the air and go through the windshield ??? And why werecher major injuries in the BACK of her head? She had a broken nose , a broken bone in her throat, a bruised lip and bruises all over her body and broken nails. He had scratches in hi face and chest! And he told so many Lies!! There was so much evidence against him !!! He’s right where he belongs, behind bars where he can’t bully another woman EVER.

          • Julie

            October 31, 2023 at 4:15 am

            Watch 48 hours.. I think he might be innocent..

      • Dr. Mullins

        December 5, 2022 at 8:31 pm

        I agree. Every wreck like this one that a passenger has died in has almost the same looking autopsy just like his wife!

      • DM_McCann

        June 21, 2023 at 5:22 pm

        In this case, it seems like the police & the prosecutor were determined to convict him right from the get. In these cases, it seems as if there’s always “surprise witnesses” for the prosecution, who for whatever reason, will claim to have seen something “shady”. Not all witnesses are honest or truthful, nor are all police & prosecutors above sheer speculation, lying or misrepresenting incorrect or staged evidence. Winning is everything to many prosecutors, making it impossible for wrongful convictions.
        The police’s “theory” of Todd K. statement of what happened as being “impossible”, is in fact very possible.
        I once had the exact same thing happen to me, but the pipe that hit & broke my windshield missed my head, luckily.

      • Johanna

        July 14, 2023 at 6:42 pm

        I agree he is innocent. The car shading him was weak. What was his motive? .. Nothing

      • April

        April 13, 2024 at 7:55 pm

        I only had to here the 9-1-1 call and here him constantly asking about his wife to know he was innocent.

  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.

  3. Mekel

    November 26, 2022 at 10:09 pm

    He was guilty as hell..Too bad his Daughter wanted to believe a lie. So sad

  4. JG

    November 28, 2022 at 3:08 pm

    What a joke trying to justify that pipe came off a truck. That pipe didn’t have a mark on it. Both ends of it still had rust not a single shiny or gouged spoton it where it bounced on the road.

  5. Dr. Mullins

    December 5, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    This guy is innocent! There has been several wrecks just like this one that has killed every passenger in each wreck. All the wrecks have been caught on video and this is identical to those wrecks! Looks like you have a legal system there that not good at all! It’s so shocking to see these “idiots” prosecute someone when evidence is in the autopsy! These people judge, prosecutor should be put on trial for prosecuting and innocent man! Hell evidence shows! Look at wrecks like this and everyone looks identical to this! Wow this city really needs to be investigated by federal authorities!

  6. Peg

    October 31, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    I think that tbe prosecutor should have. Ever said to the kids to get tvejer heads out of their blank. They lost their mom. Idk if he did it. It seems very suspicious for sure. Idk. Prosecutor needs to reprimanded for what he said. It was the fathers house and money to spend on a lawyer and it didn’t belong to the kids period. It’s sad.

  7. Cynthia

    December 26, 2023 at 11:32 pm

    I think the coroner did not do a thorough job. Injury in the back could be caused by a number of things including the head support on the top of the car seat. She only said she died of injuries in the back of her neck and did not specify it was by hands or how the damage killed her. The policemen who interrogated Todd were also incompetent and highly biased. Victims do get confused folllowing an accident and get things mixed up. These cops simply decided he killed his wife and lied and staged the accident and decided a pipe being bounced off a truck is an impossibility. Hey hell yes. I’ve seen how flimsily they are secured on flatbeds by thin ziplocks. A deep hole on the road could easily loosen or snap these ziplocks. They did not even bother to do an experiment if that is a possible scenario. The whole law enforcement agency there is incompetent. Someone in the appeal courts needs to see that and order a new trial.

  8. Rachel

    April 4, 2024 at 10:56 pm

    I believe he is completely innocent , he got totally railroaded , unbelievable, he should have asked for a lawyer and never taken the stand .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *