More details come out surrounding the case against a West Salem man now charged with homicide in the death of his wife.
The La Crosse County Sheriff's Office said investigators, based on interviews and examination of the forensic evidence, arrested Todd Kendhammer Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. on a charge of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide in the September death of his wife Barbara.
The statement from the sheriff's office called it a domestic violence incident.
He's being held in the La Crosse County Jail on a $250,000 cash bond.
On September 16, deputies responded to a crash on County Road M near Bergum Coulee Road around 8:10 a.m. where they found Kendhammer and his wife Barbara. Todd Kendhammer told investigators they were headed north when a pipe fell from a southbound truck and went through the windshield striking Barbara. She passed away the following day at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.
The criminal complaint offers more details on the investigation into the death and the case against Kendhammer. Among the details outlined include:
-A witness who drove by a vehicle said told an investigator he drove by the car as he was headed to a job site on Bergum Coulee Road. Randy Erler said the vehicle looked like it was trying to turn around and got stuck in the ditch. He said there was no one around the vehicle as he drove by and that he had not seen anything sticking out of the windshield. Erler added when shown photos of of the windshield shattered that he would have definitely stopped.
-Autopsy results showing that Kendhammer's injuries were inconsistent with the reports of the pipe coming through the windshield. There were also "multiple contusions and abrasion on the extremities, with notable healing abrasions and contusions on bilateral hands and irregular torn fingernail margins on two fingers, suggesting a possible physical struggle."
"The windshield appears to have been struck more than one time," District Attorney Tim Gruenke said. "The defendant's statements about how it happened do not match up. The complaint talks about how the autopsy and injuries were not consistent with a single incident of a pipe coming through a windshield."
-None of the several surveillance videos obtained by the sheriff's office showed a truck matching the description of the one given by Kendhammer was seen between 7:20 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on the day of the incident.
La Crosse attorney Jim Kroner said some of the most difficult cases for defense attorneys are those where the defendant gave conflicting statements to investigators.
"Sometimes they are understandable and mistakes," he said. "But if the prosecution can establish that the conflicting stories are lies, that leads the inference that you're covering something up."
At Tuesday's court appearance, Kendhammer's attorney told Judge Todd Bjerke, "Mr. Kendhammer is as life long resident of the area, he has a stellar work history, and as the state alludes to, he has no arrests let alone convictions."
News 19 also spoke with a close friend of Kendhammer's at the hearing. While he did not want to be identified, he said the family does not believe he is responsible for his wife's death.
He said they just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and the two were high school sweethearts. He added they were inseparable and did everything together, adding Barb's family does not believe Kendhammer is responsible for her death.