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Man staged car crash to cover up murdering his wife

Joe Roberts for Metro.co.uk

Man staged car crash to cover up murdering his wife
Todd Kendhammer repeatedly insisted his wife was killed in a freak accident (Picture: La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office)

A man has been found guilty of beating his wife to death and trying to stage her death in a freak-car accident.

Todd Kendhammer, 46, repeatedly insisted that a pipe flew off a pickup truck, pierced his car’s windshield and impaled his wife of 25 years.

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But after police found holes in his story, it led them to believe he murdered Barbara Kendhammer.

And after a 15-month investigation, a jury in La Crosse County, Wisconsin, found Kendhammer guilty of first degree homicide, the La Crosse Tribune reports.

La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke told jurors that Kendhammer lost control and killed his wife for a reason he has not explained.

Man staged car crash to cover up he'd murdered his wife
Police saw through his lies (Picture: La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office)
Man staged car crash to cover up murdering his wife
Kendhammer tried to stage her death in an elaborate accident involving a steel pipe (Picture: weau.com)

According to Kendhammer’s original statement to police, he claimed the couple left their home in West Salem, Wisconsin, on September 16, 2016.

As they were driving on a motorway, Kendhammer claimed a 53-inch pipe fell from an oncoming flatbed truck.

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He reportedly said it bounced off the pavement and passed through the passenger side of the windshield, hitting Mrs Kendhammer.

He later claimed the pipe didn’t hit the pavement before piercing the windshield, and he then said he punched the windshield to block the pipe.

And as he tried to push it off his wife, he caused the car to accidentally roll into a ditch, he claimed.

Man staged car crash to cover up he'd murdered his wife
A witness said the windshield was intact (Picture: La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office)
Man staged car crash to cover up he'd murdered his wife
A post mortem found Barbara Kendhammer had been strangled

But after a witness said they saw his car in a ditch with its windshield intact, with no sign of people near it, investigators suspected he was lying.

Kendhammer was found kneeling next to his wife, with injuries to his knuckles and scratches on his chest.

His unconscious wife was found lying on the ground.

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Her blood was found on the rear passenger tire and paramedics did not find glass shards on Mrs Kendhammer, the Tribune reports.

She never regained consciousness and died the next day.

A post mortem found she died from injuries to her head and neck, which were consistent with strangulation and at odds with her husband’s statement.

She was found bleeding, while there was no blood found on the pipe.

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