Wisconsin man guilty of brutally beating wife to death — then staging elaborate roadside coverup
A Wisconsin man faces life in prison after a jury convicted him of beating his wife to death as she fought for her life.
A jury of 10 women and two men deliberated for nine hours Thursday before reaching a guilty verdict for Todd Kendhammer on one count of first-degree intentional homicide, reported the LaCrosse Tribune.
The 47-year-old Kendhammer had been accused of brutally beating his wife Barb to death Sept. 16 and then staging a freak car accident to cover up the crime.
Kendhammer said he and his wife of 25 years were driving from West Salem to Holmen when a 10-pound, 53-inch galvanized steel pipe rolled from an oncoming flatbed truck and impaled the passenger side of their Toyota Camry.
He told police he continued driving about 100 yards north and then 100 east before rolling backward into a ditch, where he said he attempted to help Barb before calling 911 at 8:05 a.m., about five minutes after stopping.
Prosecutors said Kendhammer beat his wife to death outside the car, on the side of Highway M in Hamilton, and then drove the steel pipe through the windshield as she lay dying on the ground.
Barb Kendhammer sustained three bone-deep cuts to the back of her head, a fractured skull, broken nose, lip injuries and fractured neck cartilage consistent with strangulation, according to investigators.
Authorities said the injuries don’t match Kendhammer’s claims about a steel pipe, and prosecutors said it’s not physically possible for a 10-pound pipe to sail horizontally 10 feet from an oncoming car to impale the windshield.
Kendhammer was sweating and bloody, and wearing a T-shirt that read, “I don’t give a (rat’s ass),” when authorities arrived at the scene, and investigators said his knuckles were injured and he had scratches on his neck and chest.
Police said the fight apparently began inside the car, where Barb Kendhammer’s blood was found on the center console and floor mat, but they aren’t sure what caused the fight.
Kendhammer’s attorneys argued there was no motive for the beating, which they pointed out allegedly took place in a public space.
Defense attorneys argued that police called Kendhammer in for questioning under false pretenses, but prosecutors argued that the husband called an alibi witness seven minutes after investigators summoned him.