Autopsy: Injuries 'inconsistent' with damage from pipe in death - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Autopsy: Injuries 'inconsistent' with damage from pipe in death of West Salem woman

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

In a preliminary hearing Thursday, Todd Kendhammer maintained a "not guilty" plea in the death of his wife Barbara Kendhammer, as the prosecution and defense teams painted different pictures of what may have happened for Barbara to sustain life-ending injuries. 

Back in September, Todd and his wife of 25 years Barbara Kendhammer were traveling southbound down County Road M near Bergum Coulee Road near West Salem, when Todd says a pipe fell off a truck heading north and broke through the windshield and struck his wife.  Barbara died a day later from her injuries. 

Investigators looked at the case further, after they say the facts didn't add up to the circumstances Kendhammer presented according to the criminal complaint.

Todd Kendhammer was arrested December 6 on a charge of first degree intentional homicide.

In front of a packed courtroom, prosecutors presented evidence on the extent of his wife's injuries, using Dane County Medical Examiner Kathleen McCubbin as an expert witness.

She said after conducting the autopsy, she found blunt impacts on Barbara's head and neck, abrasions on her checks and torn fingernails all inconsistent with injuries from a pipe.

"Given the defendant's lies about where he was going and not having his wife at work when expected, combined with the autopsy findings and crime lab opinion about the windshield and blood patterns, conclusively shows that the death of Mrs. Kendhammer was the result of blunt force trauma at multiple places on her body, and not from a pipe coming through a windshield," La Cross County District Attorney Susan Donskey said.

Kendhammer's defense team questioned the validity of McCubbin's findings, and promised experts of their own for trial.

"What we do now is firmly recognize, if we didn't before, and that's that this is a case that is if not entirely, almost entirely structured on what will be a battle of experts," Kendhammer's Defense Attorney Jonas Bednarek said.

The judge called the State's case strong, and maintained Kendhammer's cash bond set at $250,000.

No motive was presented by the prosecution during the preliminary hearing., and the trial date is yet to be determined. 

MORE: UPDATE: More details in case of West Salem man arrested in death of wife

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