published Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Testimony brings daughter to tears

After days of hearings, it was just a few minutes of her father’s words that made Endia Kendrick cry.

“Daddy, don’t shoot mommy with that gun,” Edward T. Kendrick III said on the witness stand Friday, reading his daughter’s words off court files from his 1994 trial in which he was convicted of murder in the death of her mother, Lisa Kendrick.

“I said, ‘Sweetheart, your daddy’s not going to shoot your mommy with that gun,’” he told the court 17 years ago.

The conversation is the recorded dialogue between then 4-year-old Endia and her father, spoken moments before he shot her mother.

After Friday’s hearing, Endia Kendrick said hearing those words was very difficult.

“Today was probably ... the hardest so far,” she said, wiping tears. “It just brought back all of those feelings.”

Kendrick represented himself Friday in the fifth day of hearings on his attempt at a new trial. His daughter believes her father intended to kill her mother and he does not deserve a new trial.

Kendrick has lost previous appeals for a new trial and now is challenging the legal representation provided by his original trial attorney, Hank Hill, and his attorney during his appeal, Jerry Summers.

During his three-hour hearing Friday, Kendrick reviewed more than 14 of the 42 allegations he’s lodged in his complaint.

Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole set the next hearing for 1:30 p.m. Monday.

A Hamilton County jury found Kendrick guilty of premeditated first-degree murder for killing his wife outside the BP store on Lee Highway on March 6, 1994.

Court documents show that Kendrick arrived at the store with his 3-year-old son Edward Kendrick and 4-year-old daughter Endia. He entered the store and told his wife to come outside, that he “had something to show her.”

Witnesses later testified that, while in the store, they heard an explosion. One man stepped outside and said he saw Kendrick standing over his wife’s body with a rifle in his hand and saying, “I told you so.”

Records show that Kendrick fled the scene, driving down Airport Road with his children still in the car. He threw the Remington 7400 .30-06 rifle out of the car’s window before reaching the airport, where he first called family, then called 911.

Ever since his arrest, Kendrick has maintained that the rifle “just went off” as he moved it, sending a bullet into his wife’s chest.

Her death has divided families, with Edward Kendrick’s family saying he never intended to kill his wife while Lisa Kendrick’s family says he murdered her.

Whitley Evans, 21, daughter of Edward Kendrick and half sister to Endia, believes her father is innocent and Lisa Kendrick’s death was an accident.

Court proceedings began on Kendrick’s newest hearing on Feb. 7 and since then have been scheduled around current trial dockets in half-day increments.

Defense attorneys Jeffrey Schaarschmidt and Jason Demastus represented Kendrick in those hearings until he requested to represent himself on Feb. 21.

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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