Todd Kendhammer, a West Salem, Wis., man who repaired windshields as a side job, is on trial for first degree intentional homicide in La Crosse County Circuit Court for the 2016 death of his wife, Barbara.
On September 16, 2016, a few minutes past 8 a.m., the La Crosse County Sheriff Department was dispatched to the scene of the accident, where Kendhammer claimed a 53-inch, 10-pound metal pipe from a passing flatbed impaled the passenger side of his windshield, fatally striking his wife. He told police the two were on their way to pick up a truck that needed its windshield replaced when the incident took place.
However, according to the police report, evidence gathered from the investigation does not corroborate his story. Rather, authorities claim he beat his wife to death and staged the accident as a cover-up.
The medical examiner concluded that the injuries Barbara sustained were “inconsistent with the account of a pipe coming through the windshield.” The examiner also noted the victim had several healing abrasions on her hands with irregular tears in her fingernails, suggesting there may have been a physical struggle.
As part of the investigation, Kendhammer’s injuries were photographed, which included scratches to his neck and chest, as well as his hands and knuckles. When questioned, he told the investigator they were injuries he sustained from working “with glass all of the time and gets scratched up.”
According to the court document, evidence recovered from the scene of the accident suggest the windshield was broken after Barbara had been removed from the car, and the pattern of glass particles suggested the passenger seat was empty when the pipe was smashed through the windshield.
Additionally, a Wisconsin State Crime Lab analyst determined the pipe had struck at least once before penetrating the windshield. The analyst determined that the windshield had two areas (Area 1 and Area 2) of damage and four points of impact.
“‘Area 1’ was located in the upper half of the windshield, centered directly ahead of the front passenger seat. There are extensive fractures surrounding a perforation about 1 ½- by 1 ¾-inches in size. A flap of the plastic layer of the glass remained attached at the site of the perforation,” the document reads. “‘Area 2’ was also located in the upper half of the windshield and was directly ahead of the space between the two front seats. The glass exhibited extensive fractures and the windshield bulged outward and glass fragments were present on the front seating area.”
Investigators reached out to Benjamin Pfaff, the owner of the truck Kendhammer claimed he was going to replace the windshield for, who stated he had no intention of having the windshield replaced since the truck was just a farm vehicle he used for plowing. He also said he had not made any arrangements to do so with Kendhammer, who was recommended to him by a friend.
The trial is ongoing, but glassBYTEs.com will continue to follow this story as it develops.