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La Crosse County DA Gruenke discusses the Kendhammer murder case, which could be heard by a higher court in Wisconsin

A Wisconsin appeals court will rule today in a La Crosse County murder case that has gained national attention.

The court will announce whether Todd Kendhammer can get a new trial in the 2016 death of his wife Barbara.

Kendhammer was convicted of fatally beating Barbara with a metal pipe and is suspected of faking the accident in County M near West Salem. There he claimed the pipe flew off a truck and crashed through the windshield, hitting his wife.

During Tuesday’s La Crosse Talk PM, host Rick Solem discussed multiple facets of the case with La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke, including comparing Kendhammer’s situation to the ex-president.

“He’s trying to get his conviction overturned,” Gruenke said. The appeals court might say, ‘Yes, your conviction was – not that you are innocent – ​​but your conviction was wrong. You have to appear in court again.’ Or they could say: no, the conviction was justified and his appeal rejected. He could then go to the Supreme Court if he wanted to.”

“Can we just pass this on to Donald Trump?” Solem asked. “Is this, in a sense, the same thing that Donald Trump does: he’s attractive?”

Gruenke replied, “Yes, exactly.”


La Crosse Talk PM airs weekdays at 5:06 p.m. Listen on the WIZM app, online here, or on 92.3 FM / 1410 AM / 106.7 FM (north of Onalaska). Find all the podcasts here or subscribe to La Crosse Talk PM wherever you get your podcasts.


Two years ago, a La Crosse judge denied Kendhammer’s request for a new trial.

The two also discussed why this case was so popular. At least two national TV programs have been reported. It was the basis of an entire episode of ’48 Hours’ on CBS.

“I think people are drawn to cases of ‘Who did it?’ or cases of circumstantial evidence, as opposed to someone witnessing someone kill someone,” Gruenke said. “That doesn’t take that long to explain. But there were a lot of pieces to put together. Very small witnesses, small pieces that made up the whole picture, which I think people find more interesting than a surveillance camera recording something.”

Another part of the conversation with Gruenke is about how the family is affected by these types of outcomes from people with no history of violence. Kendhammer’s children have supported their father throughout the trial, believing he didn’t do it. Gruenke said he’s seen that a lot, and it makes sense.

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