Kendhammer Trial Day 2: Testimony begins - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Kendhammer Trial Day 2: Testimony begins

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District Attorney Tim Gruenke during opening arguments District Attorney Tim Gruenke during opening arguments
Video frame from the dashcam video from Officer Lance Loeffelholz of the West Salem PD taken on Sept. 16, 2016. Video frame from the dashcam video from Officer Lance Loeffelholz of the West Salem PD taken on Sept. 16, 2016.
Defense attorney Stephen Hurley making his opening remarks. Defense attorney Stephen Hurley making his opening remarks.
Capt. John Zimmerman of the La Crosse Co. Sheriff's Office holds the pipe that Todd Kendhammer said fell off a truck and went through the windshield of his vehicle. Capt. John Zimmerman of the La Crosse Co. Sheriff's Office holds the pipe that Todd Kendhammer said fell off a truck and went through the windshield of his vehicle.
La Crosse, WI (WXOW) - -

The jury in the Todd Kendhammer trial has now had a chance to see the pipe found at the scene. 

It was displayed for jurors during testimony Tuesday afternoon during the testimony of Capt. John Zimmerman. 

The pipe was recovered at the scene of the crash where Todd Kendhammer said it fell off of a passing truck and went through the windshield of his vehicle. 

Zimmerman also testified about surveillance video obtained from the area around the time Kendhammer said the accident occurred. The video showed what Zimmerman said appeared to be a dark colored sedan similar to the Kendhammer vehicle. It also showed around that same time a southbound truck at 7:57 a.m. 

Zimmerman was the final witness to testify Tuesday. The trial will resume Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m.


For the second time today, jurors are hearing the 9-1-1 calls made by Todd Kendhammer on September 16, 2016.

They were played during the testimony of La Crosse County Sheriff's Captain John Zimmerman. His testimony laid the groundwork for much of the evidence presented by prosecutors in the trial. 

The 9-1-1 calls, along with a number of photographs from the crash scene on Bergum Coulee Road and elsewhere, were brought before the jury during Zimmerman's testimony Tuesday afternoon. 


Audio from a La Crosse County Sheriff's deputy dash camera captures the conversation between the deputy and Todd Kendhammer following the crash near West Salem on September 16, 2016.

It happened between Deputy Adam Wickland and Kendhammer as they were along Bergum Coulee Road that morning. 

At one point, Kendhammer is heard to say "I've got glass in my hand." He made statements that his hands hit the windshield after pipe fell off a passing truck and struck his vehicle and hit his wife Barb.

Kendhammer can also be repeatedly heard asking what is happening to his wife.


The first witness to testify Tuesday afternoon is a West Salem Police officer who showed dash-cam video from his squad car as he arrived on the scene of the crash involving Todd and Barbara Kendhammer. 

Jurors saw the video Officer Lance Loeffelholz recorded on September 16, 2016 with his squad car. The audio contained the conversation he had with Todd Kendhammer in the minutes after the crash.

The audio also contain conversations Loeffelholz had with first responders, fire department members, and law enforcement at the scene. 

Loeffelholz told Kendhammer several times he was not able to ride in the ambulance with his wife after first responders refused to allow him in due to their efforts to try to save Barbara Kendhammer. 

Loeffelholz also told another officer to take pictures of Todd's hands and blood on his shirt before letting him leave the scene. 


In contrast to the District Attorney's opening statements, defense attorney Stephen Hurley started by describing the relationship between Todd and Barb Kendhammer as a love story.

Hurley discussed how the two met in school, married, and created a loving family. 

On the day of the crash, Hurley went through a timeline of text messages and phone calls that occurred that morning that showed normal activities. 

He said that the couple "never argued".

While driving down County M, Hurley described what Todd Kendhammer saw when the pipe coming that went through the windshield of his vehicle and struck his wife Barb. Hurley told of how Kendhammer pulled the pipe out of the vehicle, dragged her out of the vehicle, and began CPR. Kendhammer also called 9-1-1.

"What you will hear in those calls is genuine distress," Hurley said, then played the calls that a frantic-sounding Kendhammer made to 9-1-1. 

Hurley then focused on the windshield, telling the jury about an expert that will testify that a passerby may not have even noticed anything wrong. This was to counter the witness mentioned by District Attorney Tim Gruenke who will testify he never saw anyone or anything wrong with the vehicle when he drove by around the time of the crash. 

Hurley mentioned the injuries to Todd's hands shown to the jury. He told jurors that they matched precisely to an indentation in the windshield Todd said he made when the pipe was coming through the window. 

Hurley outlined that interviews Kendhammer had with deputies and investigators were made during times when he was in a terrible emotional state. Hurley said that during those interviews, Kendhammer repeatedly asked to be with his wife, but that authorities refused to let him do so. 

He also told jurors that the inconsistencies in Kendhammer's statements were before the crash, and that afterward, his details were very consistent. Hurley said an expert doctor will testify how memories are saved.

In conclusion, Hurley said, "I will ask you to find him not guilty." 


La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke has started his opening arguments in the homicide trial of Todd Kendhammer. 

"We're here to seek the truth in the death of Barbara Kendhammer," began Gruenke. He then laid out some of the evidence that led to the First Degree Homicide charge against Todd Kendhammer in the death of his wife in September 2016. 

He started by showing the jury pictures taken last year of the scene. He then detailed some of the inconsistencies of the statements made by Kendhammer following the crash. One picture depicted dirt in between the seat and the passenger side door which was inconsistent with foliage at the scene. 

Gruenke also pointed out that video from a surveillance camera at a nearby ranch failed to show the truck Kendhammer said the pipe fell off of before striking his vehicle. 

He also said sheriff's investigators sent Google a subpoena to get tracking information off Kendhammer's phone the day of the crash.

Gruenke also told the jury that Kendhammer was vague about the injuries on his body and how they got there. 

Lastly, he said a witness who drove past Kendhammer's vehicle along the roadway that day will testify that he saw no one around the vehicle and that the windshield was not damaged.

He concluded his opening statements, in part, saying "There was no truck." 


Jurors have returned from their visit to the crime scene in the Todd Kendhammer homicide trial. They spent about 15-20 minutes at the scene.


We'll be updating this story throughout the day as events unfold.


The start of the second day of the homicide trial of Todd Kendhammer begins with a visit by the jury to the scene of the crash. 

Kendhammer called 9-1-1 after he crashed his car on County Road M near West Salem in September 2016. He said that as he and his wife Barbara were driving down the road, a pipe fell off of a passing truck and came through the windshield of his car and struck his wife. She died the next day. 

Evidence collected by investigators, including forensic analysis and witness statements, contradict Kendhammer's version of the events of that day.

Plans call for the 15 jurors chosen Monday to take a bus to that location near Bergum Coulee Road and get a firsthand view of the scene. 

Once their visit is complete, jurors will return to the La Crosse County Courthouse where opening arguments are planned for Tuesday morning. 

WXOW will start our live stream coverage of the trial beginning with opening arguments. Viewers can watch on WXOW.com or our mobile app. 

We'll be updating this story as events unfold during the trial today. 


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