WEST SALEM, Wisc. (WLAX) — A West Salem man convicted of killing his wife now wants a new trial.
Todd Kendhammer, 51, has been serving a life sentence since 2018, but his attorney said he is owed a new trial.
Kendhammer initially told authorities a pipe fell from a passing truck, went through the windshield of his vehicle and struck his wife, Barbara; however, police found contradictions with the story and arrested Kendhammer, alleging he staged the wreck.
Evidentiary hearings this week have included witnesses and experts testifying about the events of the alleged wreck.
Certified senior crime scene analyst Alexander Jason spoke Wednesday about tests that were conducted to see if a pipe could crash through a windshield, which he said is possible.
“This orientation, if the vehicle that the camera is in was moving forward, that is towards the pipe, you could get an alignment of that pipe in the windshield,” he said.
The prosecution countered that it would be difficult for the tests to mimic the exact circumstances of the incident, and Jason agreed.
“If you’re trying to replicate exactly what happened, then there are a lot of things that are missing,” he said.
Inconsistencies in Kendhammer’s initial statements were also discussed during the hearings. Psychology professor Geoffrey Loftus said trauma could have led Kendahmmer to not have a complete picture of the event.
“What you’ve just described is a set of circumstances that would have lead Mr. Kendhammer to try to fill in the likely gaps in his initial memory,” Loftus said. “And you often do so based on inferences or suggestions from elsewhere.”
The defense will receive transcripts of the three days in court within the next 60 days before determining its next step.