LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - In day two of the Todd Kendhammer murder trial, the prosecution and defense laid out their arguments in opening statements and witnesses took the stand.
Kendhammer is accused of killing his wife of 25 years and staging her death in a car accident.
"I need to convince you beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant in this case killed his wife of 25 years, Barbara Kendhammer,” La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke said.
Gruenke acknowledged he has a difficult job.
“You won’t hear any evidence that Todd and Barbara were fighting. They were married for 25 years, had two children, had a grandchild, many people said they were a good couple, a happy couple, a normal couple,” he said.
The defense points to Todd Kendhammer's love for his wife as a reason he couldn't be guilty, playing his 911 calls to show his distress.
"When you've heard everything, you will know Todd Kendhammer could have never even had the thought pass through his head, and I will ask you to not find him guilty,” defense attorney Stephen Hurley said.
Kendhammer's attorney detailed the couple's history, starting when Todd met Barbara at age 14.
"What you will hear is evidence of one of those quiet but amazing love stories,” Hurley said.
But the prosecution said regardless of an apparent motive, the facts in the case are irrefutable, from inconsistent evidence found in and around the car to an account from Todd Kendhammer that doesn't add up.
"There was no truck that lost a pipe, the pipe did not fly and crash through the windshield, and once you understand that, the only reality left is an unfortunate one no one wants to face and no one wants to admit, but we have to find the truth for Barb,” Gruenke said.
The defense plans to call experts in glass, memory and trauma to the stand that will back up Kendhammer's story, "that all of (Barbara's) injuries are consistent with what occurred in cabin of automobile and subsequently."
The first witnesses, including a West Salem police officer who provided dash cam footage, and a volunteer first responder, set the stage for a number of expected accounts over the next several days.
"There's going to be a lot of emotion in this case," Gruenke said.
The prosecution has 30 witnesses listed that can testify and the defense has more than 40, including Joyce Adams, Barbara Kendhammer's mother.
Tuesday morning, jurors also visited the scene of the incident.
Court will resume tomorrow morning. News 8 will be streaming it live.
Watch the Facebook Livestreams below:
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