Crime lab expert’s testimony runs contrary to Kendhammer’s explanation of alleged crash
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Prosecutors brought their final witnesses to the stand Friday, including two Wisconsin crime lab experts to dispute Todd Kendhammer’s explanation of the alleged crash in which a pipe fell off a truck, impaling his windshield and killing his wife last September.
Todd Kendhammer is on trial for the murder of his wife of 25 years, Barbara Kendhammer.
Starting in the morning, DNA analyst Kevin Scott took the stand for hours, answering questions from prosecutors and the defense about what he found on Barbara Kendhammer’s fingernails, samplings from the car and the pipe.
Todd Kendhammer had scratches on his neck and chest, and while Scott said Kendhammer’s DNA was almost certainly found in his wife Barbara’s fingernails, he told the defense he can’t determine how the DNA got there.
In the afternoon, crime scene response coordinator Nick Stahlke testified, noting it took at least two blows to the windshield to cause the center fracture, that the center damage occurred before the fracture with the hole over the passenger seat and that the site over the passenger seat was hit at least once before the hole was produced.
Stahlke also investigated the glass and dirt that was found on the passenger seat and in the door sill, which led him to some conclusions.
“Just the fact that the dirt and glass were there would indicate that no one was seated in this seat,” he said. “I believe because of the lack of glass in the map pocket and dirt in interior side of front door, I believe the door was open during deposition of the glass and the dirt.”
Defense attorney Stephen Hurley questioned Stahlke’s background knowledge in glass and how it breaks, and asked about how evidence such as glass shards in the car may have been moved once the car was towed in the rain that Friday to the sheriff’s department and then taken in a closed trailer to the crime lab in Madison.
“That had the potential to be disturbed in the manner in which it was transported in the open, is that correct?” Hurley asked Stahlke.
“Anytime there’s weather and you have an item exposed to that weather, there can be loss of evidence due to that,” Stahlke answered.
Stahlke also testified he used a chemical to determine where blood was even if it wasn’t visible, and it also could tell him where it wasn’t.
While there was visible blood in many places, including on the passenger side front mat, the center console, the front edge of the passenger seat and on the shoulder of the passenger’s seat belt, there wasn’t any blood on the passenger backrest or headrest.
Prosecutors will officially wrap up Monday, and then the defense will begin bringing its witnesses to the stand.
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