He Said a Flying Pipe Killed His Wife, Maintains He's Innocent

Todd Kendhammer's children are hoping a judge will grant a new trial
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2022 5:45 PM CST

Lawyer Jerry Buting defended Steven Avery on Netflix's Making a Murderer. Now he and wife Kathleen Stilling, also an attorney, have taken on the case of a Wisconsin man convicted of murdering his wife. As CBS News' 48 Hours reports, "They insist this isn't a murder mystery. It's an old-fashioned love story that ended in a tragic accident." Todd and Barbara Kendhammer met as teens and had been married for 25 years when Barbara died; by all accounts Todd adored his wife. On the morning of Sept. 16, 2016, Todd set out to drive Barbara to work. Minutes later, at 8:05am, he called 911. He told police a pipe flew off a truck, came through the windshield, and hit Barbara. She was declared brain dead the next day. Police were immediately skeptical of Todd's story, and 48 Hours details their suspicions.

Police say Todd had bloody knuckles and apparent scratch marks on his neck at the scene; he was driving in a direction opposite from Barbara's work; Barbara hadn't made her regular morning call to her mom or called work to say she'd be arriving after 8am as scheduled; surveillance video seems to show the Kendhammer car but no truck. And then there was the autopsy, which turned up three lacerations on the back of her head. Prosecutor Tim Gruenke believes Todd damaged the windshield himself with the 53-inch pipe after killing Barbara. The couple's two children argue the prosecution's timeline—that Todd killed his wife and staged the scene in five minutes—isn't plausible. Todd was arrested three months later, found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide in 2017, and given a life sentence. His children engaged Buting and Stilling to challenge the conviction and managed to secure an evidentiary hearing; a judge will rule in the coming months on whether Todd should get a new trial. (Read the full story for much more.)

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