published Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Chattanooga: Lengthy court battle divides families

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    Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press Edward Kendrick sits in Judge Don Poole's courtroom on Monday during a hearing to argue for a new case to appeal his murder conviction in the 1994 slaying of his wife, Lisa Kendrick.

A rifle that fired nearly 17 years ago killed a mother, sent a father to prison and destroyed two families.

Seated in separate rows Monday, those families again saw the weapon and the father who once held it.

Edward T. Kendrick III returned to Hamilton County courts from the Morgan County Correctional Facility, where he has been serving a life sentence on a 1994 first-degree murder conviction for the death of his wife, Lisa Kendrick.

Kendrick has appealed his conviction multiple times. The hearing Monday began a process challenging portions of previous rulings on his appeals. If successful, the current hearing could bring new questions to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and a chance for another trial.

"This matter, for Lisa, her family, the petitioner and his family, needs to be heard and, if it takes a month to do it, we will," Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole told the courtroom.

On March 6, 1994, Kendrick drove his car with his 4-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son to the BP Oil Store on Lee Highway where his wife worked, according to court documents. Witnesses said Kendrick came in the store and asked his wife "to step outside, he had something to show her."

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    Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press Firearms expert witness Herny Jackson "Jack" Belk examines a rifle in Judge Don Poole's courtroom on Monday during a hearing to argue for a new case to appeal Edward Kendrick's murder conviction in the 1994 slaying of his wife, Lisa Kendrick.

Minutes later, the same witnesses heard an explosion, looked outside and saw Kendrick holding a Remington 7400 .30-06 rifle, "pointed straight up in the air." One witness said he saw Kendrick lean over his wife's body and say "I told you so" about six times.

She died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Kendrick denies that he shot his wife on purpose and has maintained that he was simply moving the rifle and it "went off," firing a bullet that struck the 26-year-old mother.

Shortly after Kendrick's arrest, Chattanooga police Officer Steve Miller was shot in the foot as he moved the rifle from his patrol car to store it as evidence. Miller later said his hands were not near the trigger when the rifle fired.

After the three-hour hearing Monday, Kendrick's daughter Endia, now 21, reflected on the lingering trauma of that March night.

"I don't think anybody can really understand, when you have your mom shot and killed right in front of you, what that does to a person, because you lose both of your parents in one night," she said.

She has little sympathy for her father.

"It's just sick. When they pulled the gun out for evidence, he cried," she said. "You're not crying because a gun accidentally killed your wife, you're crying because you're guilty and you know you did it."

Her half-sister Whitley Evans, 21 -- Kendrick's daughter with another woman at the same time he was married to Endia Kendrick's mother -- doesn't think her father killed Lisa Kendrick.

"I don't believe he in any way intended to shoot her," she said after the hearing. "I feel bad for Endia -- we haven't really had a relationship -- but I feel for her because, if my mom was gone, I'd feel horrible."

The bulk of Monday's hearing focused on the rifle and testimony from a defense expert witness as to problems with the weapon's fire control mechanism.

Jack Belk, an Idaho gunsmith who has testified in at least 15 cases regarding weapons malfunctions, took the stand to answer questions about the rifle and its mechanism. Under questioning by defense attorney Jeffrey Schaarschmidt, Belk said weapons with the Remington's type of mechanism can fire without someone pulling the trigger.

"Vibration is one way that can happen, in another case, grabbing the muzzle caused the gun to fire," he said.

Prosecutor Lance Pope argued that Belk had not tested the rifle in evidence with ammunition and that he had never caused an unmodified Remington 7400 .30-06 to fire by vibration. Belk acknowledged both those points.

During his questioning of Belk, Schaarschmidt held the rifle, asking about various features of the weapon. When finished, he placed the rifle on the edge of the witness box, its barrel pointing toward the front row of the courtroom. Audience members gasped and ducked out of the way before a deputy quickly aimed the barrel toward the wall.

Attorneys finished questioning Belk on Monday. Poole said that, because of another scheduled trial, the hearing would resume either Thursday or Friday.

Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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Tyrone_Weather said...

From the witness's own account this guy is guilty of first degree manslaughter

" One witness said he saw Kendrick lean over his wife's body and say "I told you so" about six times.

Keep him in jail where he belongs. Protect the public.

February 8, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.
Advocate said...

Have you ever heard of perjury?

Expect to discover during the course of the Hearing that more than one witness gave two entirely different versions of their testimony - with no room for misunderstanding. It can be logically concluded that at least one of version of their testimony is false, and therefore there is a lack of creditability in anything they have said.

No one should be afraid of the truth, accept those who have misrepresented facts or have lied.

February 8, 2011 at 8:55 p.m.
Love said...

"Kendrick's daughter with another woman at the same time he was married to Endia Kendrick's mother -- doesn't think her father killed Lisa Kendrick"

This part of the story is a lie! He was not married, and Whitley is 6 months older than Endia. So that means Whitley is the older Sister to Endia! Whitley's mother introduced Edward to Lisa and they hooked up. Not knowing that Whitley's Mother was pregnant later on when he got Lisa pregnant and did not marry Lisa till 2 years after Endia was born.

If the press wants a story, they need to get the story straight and it would be much better to get the interest of others if the truth be told!

Edward is responsible for the death of his wife and is living with that guilt for the rest of his life. Still just because one parent is dead does not mean that the one living should not continue to parent his children and now some have grandchildren. Let this man free to live his life on the outside to watch his grand children grow up! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

HONESTLY, ALL HIS CHILDREN WANT HIM OUT!

February 9, 2011 at 7:37 a.m.
Love said...

"During his questioning of Belk, Schaarschmidt held the rifle, asking about various features of the weapon. When finished, he placed the rifle on the edge of the witness box, its barrel pointing toward the front row of the courtroom. Audience members gasped and ducked out of the way before a deputy quickly aimed the barrel toward the wall."

WHATCHA ALL SCARED FOR IF YOU BELIEVE THIS MAN IS GUILTY? NO ONE SHOULD BE SCARED OF THE RIFFLE IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IT WENT OFF BY VIBRATION OR NOT TOUCHING THE TRIGGER! SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE! LET THIS MAN FREE TO LIVE HIS LIFE! WE HAVE TORTURED THIS MAN ENOUGH! LET HIM FREE! LET HIM FREE! LET HIM FREE!

February 9, 2011 at 7:47 a.m.
Tyrone_Weather said...

Perjury I'm sure is happening, this guy will say anyhing to get out of jail.

This guy went to a store, pulled his wife outside the store while she was working, and shot her point blank, witness's heard him say "I told you so" (6 times) He then did not bother to tend to his bleeding wife but instead runs like a coward and tries to dispose of the gun by throwing it out the window, if you read the article above this guy is a killer and is grabbing at everything, but the point is he pulled his wife out of her place of work and killed her on purpose. Moving a loaded gun while your mad at your wife with kids in the car.

And about the gun in the court room no one wants a gun pointed towards them especially one that was already used to KILL someone. The gun did not move itself to point its muzzle at the woman, this guy pointed a loaded gun at his wife, that is a fact, he shot her that is a fact, he said "I told you so" that is another fact, he tried to dispose of the weapon by throwing it out the window, ( a innocent person would help his wife, he was only worried about his own self )

This man deserves every minute he is in jail, HE POINTED THE GUN at his wife, and shot her.

This is a waste of time and money to tax payers, perjury there is nothing to gain from perjury here, So Mr advocate your trying to say some random guy who just happened to be at the store when this Kendrick shot his wife and over heard him say "i told you so (6 times)) is commiting perjury that is crazy in itself.

It clearly shows if you read all about this case this man showed no remorse over killing his wife, he drove away from the BP station while his bleeding dieing wife was dieing or dead to dispose of the murder weapon, that is the instinct of a guilty man, he was afraid im sure (of going to jail) because he shot his wife on purpose, went to the store she worked at on purpose, pulled her out of the store where he could introduce a loaded 30 odd 6 to her chest, then he drove away like a coward. I say give this man the death penalty a eye for an eye, we cant bring back his dead wife. this is repulsive, he has the nerve to pull all this back in court, he was already convicted by 12 jurors. Waste of time and money.

If this man wants to do the right thing, he needs to drop it, he is again punishing his x wife's family, his own kids who as it says above

She has little sympathy for her father.

"It's just sick. When they pulled the gun out for evidence, he cried," she said. "You're not crying because a gun accidentally killed your wife, you're crying because you're guilty and you know you did it."

Even his now 21 year old daughter knows just like i said he is not sorry he killed his wife, he is only crying because he is in prison basically.

It was no accident that he moved a loaded gun and it was pointed with a loaded round of ammunition at his wife.

His last words to his bleeding wife was "I told you so "

February 10, 2011 at 8:18 a.m.
gbrecke said...

What about the officer that shot himself in the foot with the same rifle? Didn't I read that? I hope that all who believe he was just a careless idiot petition to have him fired or at least moved to a desk job. He could have just as easily shot an innocent by stander with this rifle.

I hope the jury is consistent, if the guy on trial is found guilty, the officer should be found guilty of gross neglience at least. Apparently the officer never even checked the chamber when he first picked up the rifle.

February 10, 2011 at 1:45 p.m.
CaptainAnd said...

Why should he be allowed to live his life when he took the life of another human being? He took a mother away from her children and I PROMISE you not ALL of his children want him free. In fact, the two that lost their mother that night are fighting very hard to make sure he stays in prison. They deserve justice. Their mother doesn't get a second chance at life and that murderer doesn't deserve one either!

KEEP HIM IN PRISON!!!!!!!!!!!! LET JUSTICE BE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!

February 10, 2011 at 7:35 p.m.
tbyrd said...

There are so many facts to the story that on one knows. If you are so sure that all of his children want him out then why is it they are sitting with us Lisa's family? If they want him out why will they not even talk to his side of the family?Ha you think you are so smart don't you? You are not the one's that Endia and Edward cried to so many nights wondering why he killed their mother!!!! We are! So unless you have all the facts don't talk like you know us! I will debate this with you all you! They are Lisa voice seeing to how she don't have one oh that's right she is 6 feet deep because of a cold hearted killer!!! She will never see her children grow up marry and have kids of their own! She was robbed of everything and you think that he is sorry for what he did? He carried a loaded gun I'm sorry I mean rifle to Lisa's job asked her to come outside and shot her POINT BLANK! What kind of father kills their mother in front of them? You are going by what he has told you over the years. Why don't you talk to Lisa's family? I'm sure that we could tell you more than you can handle! So Mr. Love or whoever you are, are you sitting in court everyday? I assure I am. As far as Endia and Edward they have made their choice and it is quite clear what they believe. Have you even read the autopsy report? If it was an accident then why does she have defense wounds on her arm? If he was just moving the gun why did she have her arms up? Why did he run and throw the gun out of the window? Justice was served 16 years ago and I believe it will be served again!

March 1, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.
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