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Damaged windshield

The damaged windshield of the Kendhammers' car.

A West Salem man charged with killing his wife and trying to cover up the crime by staging a traffic crash was released from custody Friday after posting his $250,000 cash bond.

Todd Kendhammer, 46, is under house arrest and being monitored by GPS.

His attorneys Thursday fought for a lower bond, but the request was denied by La Crosse County Circuit Judge Todd Bjerke, who bound him over for trial in the Sept. 17 death of his wife, Barbara. Prosecutors initially sought a $1 million cash bond.

Kendhammer stood mute Thursday to a first-degree intentional homicide charge during his preliminary hearing. His next court date is Feb. 2.

He told authorities he was driving north on a straight and flat stretch of Hwy. M just south of Bergum Coulee Road about 8 a.m. Sept. 16 when a 53-inch pipe fell from an oncoming flatbed truck and impaled the passenger side of the windshield, striking his 46-year-old wife, according to the criminal complaint.

Kendhammer said he turned onto nearby Bergum Coulee Road while trying to remove the 10-pound galvanized steel pipe from his wife. He removed the pipe from the windshield and his wife from the passenger seat and tried CPR for three to five minutes before calling 911 at 8:06 a.m., according to the complaint. She died the next day at a hospital.

Extensive blunt impact injuries to her front and back of her head and neck did not match her husband’s description of an airborne pipe piercing the windshield and striking her, according to court testimony.

Kendhammer had scratches on his neck and chest, and injuries on his knuckles he said were the result of working with glass, the complaint stated.

A passerby said he spotted the Camry half in the ditch on Bergum Coulee Road with its passenger door open and no damage to the windshield, the complaint stated. He did not see the couple.

Bloodstain patterns around the passenger seat and on the inside of the windshield are consistent with a physical assault, according to the State Crime Laboratory. There was no blood on the pipe recovered after the incident.

A crime lab analyst also found at least four impact points to two areas of the windshield: two inflicted from the inside and one from the outside that damaged the glass before the pipe penetrated the windshield, according to the complaint.

The spread of glass particles on the passenger seat indicated it was empty when the pipe came through. The analyst also concluded the passenger door was likely open, because there were no glass fragments in the door pocket.

No flatbed truck matching the description provided by Kendhammer is on four surveillance videos within minutes of the scene.

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(28) comments


With the evidence they have i looks like he's in deep trouble when this goes to trial. She was obviously murdered.


I wonder if his conscience will bother him every time he drives past Neshonoc Cemetery where Barb is buried. He can't avoid going by there if he lives up in Scotch Coulee. Why not just confess, man? He could maybe plead out and save his kids and family the trouble and trauma of an ugly trial. Evidence doesn't lie and his story just doesn't jive as documented in the criminal complaint. People aren't always as perfect as they appear to be to others.

Condor Kid

Not to defend Kendhammer but defense attorneys almost always advise their clients to stand mute during arraignment and preliminary hearings.


"Kendhammer stood mute"... why? Why would he choose to stand mute instead of stating and entering his own "not guilty" plea?


So sad how harsh some of the comments are that people have made regarding this case. Please be mindful that Todd and Barb's family and close friends likely see alot of the comments on the news articles/Facebook posts/etc. and you are referring to their loved ones. Please be kind. John 8:7 "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

screen name

Seems strange that he didn't kill her on the side of the road. Why would he risk leaving her alive so she could possibly identify him as the one who beat her?


They need to bring him back to jail for his own safety or his going to do away with himself long before he goes to prison. Since the pipe didn't do the damage and evidence does show she was beaten to death he shouldn't have gotten out at all.


He doesn't need to be a suicide in the jail and put that on the tax payers. If his families support him they need to find him a health care facility for his problems. The jail is not geared to treat or care for health/mental challenges.


If the info in this story is correct, he's an idiot and deserves to never be a free man again. Bring back the death penalty. I hope he doesn't get convicted before Odummy leaves office, or there's a chance he'll pardon him.


No Blood on the PIPE ??? Gee how does that Happen ??? What a low life douche bag !


That windshield looks like it was struck much more then once and with much force,sledgehammer maybe?


Exactly right a douchebag.....what's not to say she wasn't already dead and in the trunk when he backed in the ditch. Maybe he was taking her out???? Would explain why there isn't blood anywhere. I would say get a search warrant for his house. If he's dumb enough to think someone would believe his lame story then he clearly isn't smart enough to clean up blood the correct way and there will still be traces found. Mark my words......she was dead before he put her in the car.


Then why would they state that she died the next day at the hospital? DId the hospital think she was alive and was not right about that?


Because she was an organ donor. All they need to do is keep her heart beating and blood circulating.


She was mentally dead because of what he did to her and she couldn't dang well breathe on her own with a crushed Trachea. He is a monster. He will kill himself because he got caught and there's no way out. Post all the tear jerking posts about oh poor Todd and how to stand behind him and you loved get like a mom. But what about Barb? If you truly loved her than you would take a step back and look at all of the facts. Forensics don't lie..... And to say no one pay attention to cars as they go by..b.s. He lives in a small town and you are on backroads. You do notice who drives by because of you know them then you wave your two fingers to say hey. So just because you want to believe he is innocent. Blame it all on the media but you must be that same kid that blames your parents for every mistake you made in life. Be ready to look like a fool when he either kills himself because he isn't man enough to admit his wrong doings, or finally breaks and spills the beans. Either way Todd can you please break your bond first cause the county could use the money to fill in a few potholes. Favorite quote I read...."Todd's as innocent as OJ Simpson"


Speaking from experience with the judicial system...innocent until proven guilty does not exist when you are the perp. Trust me on that!!!

Condor Kid

Anyone who can post that kind of bail money will be afforded a fair trial, at least.


Apparently the poor woman must have done this damage to herself, if no one can believe 2 police officers, the medical examiner, the insurance company, the witness not seeing anyone in the passenger seat along with Todd who won't be able to get a fair trial in LaCrosse county by a jury of his peers. Right......


they will most likely bring in a jury from another county that is not familiar with this case. It is much more costly and time consuming but helps ensure a fair trial.


Here we are again... another family torn between their grief and the unimaginable thought that someone they love has committed an unthinkable crime. Look at the pain and emotional destruction that was reeked by Jeffrey Lepsch, not only on the Petras family, but his own family as well. And why? Because he did not have the balls to tell the truth and spare his family the long, drawn out pain of a trial. Lepsch was a true masochist putting his family through that, and now Kendhammer is doing the same thing. If its true that something happened and he snapped, and if he loves his friends and family - really loves them the way that they love him, he will do the right thing. Tell the truth! I pray for his family that he finds the strength to do what's right. RIP Barb.


Keep him safe from himself. He deserves his day in court. If innocent he deserves to have his story told. If not, he needs to be held accountable.


Innocent until proven guilty. Is this even going to be a fair trial? The media has him convicted already. With that said, I am thinking his defense team must have something up their sleeve for him to be proven innocent. Too many unanswered questions. Will the “true story” ever come out. Only Todd knows exactly what happened. I hope he can tell the exact truth. I hope his children and all of the family can get find some peace. My opinion is that for some reason maybe Todd snapped. I hope they are looking into his mental state. I don’t believe this was planned, premeditated, or intentional. Again, I hope the exact truth comes out as to what happened that Friday morning. What happened even leading up to where the accident was called in at. Can that witness say beyond a shadow of a doubt he saw NO damage to that car when he went by it? And he saw no one by the car? Where were they? Within a couple minutes EMT’s were almost to the scene. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. How did witness not see anyone? There is a lot riding on that one witness shoulders for Todd. My opinion is Todd will not get a fair trial around here. Most everyone has him convicted. Again, I hope they are looking into the mental state of Todd. He wasn’t in his right mind. And his money was raised for his bail. He has been released. Bless this family and RIP Barb.


"Innocent until proven guilty." Yes, everybody is innocent until proven guilty, even black people from Chicago. It has to apply to all people and not just ones you know and like. But the all too typical mentality here is that if somebody is arrested for a crime they must be guilty because, after all, the police don't arrest innocent people. And innocent people are never convicted and go to prison, except when they are and do. Sometimes it seems as if the most important thing is to arrest and convict someone for a crime and if it turns out they are actually guilty, well, that's a bonus.


If hes guilty,where is his conscious? If hes guilty,merry or not he still will be here with his family for Christmas,Barb wont be. We owe it to her more then anyone to find the truth. There is no excuse for any form of spousal abuse,but this is not even in the same category as abuse,this would be muder. Rest in peace Barb.


And the medical examiner's report that her injuries were non consistent with what he said happened, as how could the pipe have struck her three times??? Yep, you have an opinion all right. Let's wait for all the facts.


No the forensic team proved him guilty not the media


I would think an innocent loving husband would be so emotional a basket case,wife dead,being charged with something he didnt do? Looks so unemotional, i dont understand that


Its called being in Shock?!?!?

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