West Salem man convicted of killing wife wants new trial

Todd Kendhammer's new defense team argues he did not receive a fair trial

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The West Salem man convicted of killing his wife wants a new trial.

On Monday,  Judge Todd Bjerke listened to Todd Kendhammer’s team argue reasons he did not get a fair trial.

A jury found Kendhammer guilty of killing his wife, Barbara, in 2016 and then trying to cover it up saying it was caused by a pipe falling off a passing truck and crashing through their car windshield. His current attorneys are Kathleen Stilling and Jerome Buting. whom you might remember appeared in the famous Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer.”

Stilling asked Kendhammer’s former lawyer Jonas Bednarek what he would have done differently. Bednarek said he should have filed a motion for a change in venue. He argued that media coverage of the event and photos released by the La Crosse County sheriff of Kendhammer wearing a shirt soaked in blood  created an unfair situation for Kendhammer before the trial began.

District Attorney Tim Gruenke countered that Wisconsin law requires jurors to consider only  evidence presented inside the courtroom.

Stilling: “The photographs and other information that made it into the media that you read. Were those stories generally favorable or unfavorable to the defense?”

Bednarek: “Like most media coverage in a case of this stature, it is my belief that the reporting is biased and suggests culpability on the part of the accused.”

Gruenke: “You know that the law would instruct the jury not to consider things that are not evidence, right?”

Bednarek: “Yes, the instruction does say that.”

Gruenke: “And evidence is what people testify from a stand or any physical evidence is introduced?”

Bednarek: “Exhibits that are introduced, yes.”

Kendhammer is serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 30 years. Fifteen family members were allowed inside forMonday’s hearing. It was closed to the public because of the high spread of COVID-19 in the community. The hearing was the first of three days of scheduled testimony.

Previous coverage 
Watch Day 1: Todd Kendhammer returns to court for appeal 
Attorney for Todd Kendhammer wants court to review evidence 
Todd Kendhammer sentenced to life in prison, chance of parole after 30 years