Kendhammer Trial Day 4: Interviews with investigators - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Kendhammer Trial Day 4: Interviews with investigators

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Todd Kendhammer's interview with sheriff's investigators was played for jurors during the fourth day of his homicide trial.

One of the people called to the stand on Thursday morning was Fritz Leinfelder, an investigator with the La Crosse County Sheriff's Department.

"We needed some clarification on some things that Todd had told us," Leinfelder said.

Investigators called Kendhammer in for questioning after Leinfelder told jurors that he received information early in the investigation that later proved to be inaccurate. It was after Leinfelder started testifying that prosecutors entered the full interview with Kendhammer into evidence.

"If you need to go to the bathroom or anything at any time, you just let use know," Leinfelder can be heard telling Kendhammer in the video. "If you want to leave at any time, let us know."

During the three and a half hour interview, which took place a few days after the crash, Kendhammer starts with his account of what happened leading up to the accident on Bergum Coulee Road.

"It looked like a bird coming at us at first, like one of them swallows or something," Kendhammer said. "Then, it just--it come through the windshield."

He goes on to describe how he lunged toward his wife after realizing it was not a bird but a metal pipe. From there, he struggles to remember exactly how he got his wife out of the car or what happened to the pipe.

"I just don't--I remember, I remember, but I don't know how, how I did it or what I did or where," said Kendhammer.

About an hour and a half into the interview, investigators begin to confront Kendhammer about inconsistencies with the injuries to his wife Barbara that could have been caused by a pipe. They tell Kendhammer his story just does not add up to the evidence. Investigators share their findings of blood in the Kendhammer's garage and the extensive injuries Barb suffered confirmed through medical examination.

"We don't have an explanation for some of those injuries, because they didn't happen by a pipe coming through the windshield," Leinfelder tells Kendhammer in the interview. "I think you understand that. I think you know that."

Todd Kendhammer describes his marriage as "awesome," and he tells investigators that he would never hurt Barb.  He later said he couldn't explain the injuries. 

"I'm saying that there would be absolutely no reason why, no reason why I would," Kendhammer said. "Why would I go out at 7:45, 8 o'clock in the morning when everybody's going to work, to a place like that and do something like this?"

When pressed by investigators that suggested there was an argument and something happened between the couple, Todd said, "There's nothing that got out of hand with me."

Later in the interview, Todd appeared to get angry at investigators about how the death of his wife occurred. "I sure as hell wouldn't have done it like this."

In another part of the interview, when pressed again by investigators, Todd said, "I would not and I will not hurt my wife."

Kendhammer said a pipe fell off of a passing truck and impaled the windshield of his vehicle. The pipe struck his wife Barb who was sitting in the passenger seat.

Leinfelder uses physics to argue that a pipe could not have caused Barb's injuries. His logic raised some questions with the defense.

"I am not a biomechanic nor an engineer nor a physicist," admitted Leinfelder under oath.

"Yet, you engaged in some talk about physics with Mr. Kendhammer, is that correct?" asked Kendhammer's counsel.

"I did," Leinfelder answered.

"I presume you had high school physics, is that correct?" asked Kendhammer's counsel.

"Yes, I did," said Leinfelder.

"Any training in physics beyond that?" asked Kendhammer's counsel.

"Not beyond that, no," said Leinfelder.

The interview ends with Kendhammer in cooperation with investigators.

"I'm trying to make this scene go together as well as you guys are," he said.

Prosecutors, based, in part, on inconsistent statements by Kendhammer and not being able to find the truck in question, are arguing that he staged the incident.

With Kendhammer's name missing from the witness lists, it raises the possibility that the interview may be the only chance the jury will have to hear his account about what happened in the September 2016 incident.


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