Chattanooga: Kendrick's children uncertain of father's fate

Chattanooga: Kendrick's children uncertain of father's fate

February 12th, 2011 by Todd South in News

Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press Edward T. Kendrick III listens Friday at the Hamilton County Court's Building as his attorney questions a witness during their attempt to get a new trial for Kendrick. Kendrick was convicted of murdering his wife in 1994.

The children of a man convicted in a 1994 murder trial have different impressions of how multiple hearings for him went this week.

Whitley Evans, 21, daughter of Edward T. Kendrick III, said she thinks the hearings on Monday, Thursday and Friday moved her father closer to his goal of a new trial.

But Endia Kendrick, 21, and Edward Kendrick, 20, whose mother the elder Kendrick was convicted of killing, said the week's events made them more confident their father would stay in jail for the rest of his life.

That's the sentence given by a Hamilton County jury that convicted him in 1994 of first-degree murder. Kendrick has appealed his conviction multiple times, with mixed success.

Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole scheduled further hearings in the case for Feb. 21.

Local attorneys Hank Hill and Jerry Summers will be called as witnesses in the upcoming hearings. Hill represented Kendrick in the original trial and Summers represented him in the appeal.

In this week's hearings, Kendrick's current attorney, Jeffrey Schaarschmidt, retraced testimony of witnesses in the original trial, trying to prove Kendrick's claim that he did not have effective legal counsel.

"Hopefully the judge will conclude, as we did, that Mr. Kendrick deserves a new trial," Schaarschmidt said following Friday's hearing.

Prosecutor Lance Pope declined to comment on an ongoing case.

On Friday, Schaarschmidt questioned Tennessee Bureau of Investigation forensic scientist Russ Davis, asking about tests the agency performed to see if Kendrick had fired a weapon.

Davis explained that tests for the presence of chemicals related to the firing of a gun can result in three determinations -- absent, inconclusive or present. Absent and inconclusive do not mean that the person did not fire a weapon, he said.

Kendrick maintains he did not fire the Remington 7400 .30-06 rifle that killed his wife, saying it "went off" as he was moving it.

Witnesses testified in the first trial that Kendrick came to the Lee Highway BP Oil Store on March 6, 1994, and asked his wife, a store employee, to come outside. Moments later, witnesses heard an explosion. One man said he looked outside and saw Kendrick standing over his wife saying, "I told you so," about six times.

Kendrick drove away on Airport Road and threw the rifle from the car. Later, he stopped at the airport and called police, who came and arrested him.

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