Dana Chandler case: jury in new trial for Kansas woman charged with murder of ex-husband, girlfriend

Dana Chandler case: jury in new trial for Kansas woman charged with murder of ex-husband, girlfriend

Dana Chandler case: jury in new trial for Kansas woman charged with murder of ex-husband, girlfriend

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A Kansas jury on Thursday was unable to rule in the case of a woman charged with the murder of her ex-husband and his girlfriend two decades ago.

Dana Chandler, 67, was charged with two murders in the July 2002 shooting of Mike Sisco, 47, and Karen Harkness, 53, at their home in Topeka.

“This is not a case that science can solve,” District Attorney Charles Kitt said in his closing statement on Aug. 25. “This case is about jealousy of Mike Sisco. Jealousy that Mike Sisco could move on with his life. Jealousy about the new relationship Mike Sisco had found.”

The Shawnee County jury deliberated for six days before announcing a firm verdict.

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Dana Chandler was initially found guilty of the 2002 murder of her ex-husband and his girlfriend in 2012.

Dana Chandler was initially found guilty of the 2002 murder of her ex-husband and his girlfriend in 2012.
(Story Syndicate via AP, Pool)

Kitt had argued that while there is a lack of scientific evidence in the 20-year case, Chandler’s post-divorce obsession with Sisco and circumstantial evidence should convince the jurors that she killed the couple. Chandler’s daughter, Hailey Sisco, wept when she testified that she believes her mother killed her father.

Prosecutors also presented a witness who lived across the street from Sisco and Harkness at the time, Terri Anderson, who testified that she saw Chanlder leave their home on the night of the murders — a first in Chandler’s 20-year case.

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Meanwhile, Chandler’s defense team argued that law enforcement officers missed opportunities to investigate other suspects in the years it took to charge Chandler with the crimes. She was initially found guilty in 2012 and sentenced to life in prison, but the Kansas Supreme Court overturned her 2018 conviction for misconduct on the part of the plaintiff.

In addition, investigators said nothing had been taken from the victims’ home at the time; the gun used in the victims’ deaths was never recovered; no fingerprints were found on empty shells on site; and Chandler’s hair and fiber samples did not match those found in the victims’ homes. Her car also showed no signs of a crime, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Dana Chandler is accused of murdering her ex-husband and his girlfriend 20 years ago.  (Story Syndicate via AP, Pool)

Dana Chandler is accused of murdering her ex-husband and his girlfriend 20 years ago. (Story Syndicate via AP, Pool)
(Story Syndicate via AP, Pool)

Chandler’s second trial was postponed after a long back and forth between prosecutors and the defendant’s lawyers, until her trial began on August 5.

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The second trial was postponed because Chandler and her lawyers made numerous requests to rule out evidence, a change of location and dismissal of the case. The trial began on August 5.

A status hearing to determine next steps in the case is scheduled for September 29. Chandler will remain in custody until at least that date.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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