Dana Chandler: Double murder accused hugs attorney in joy after second trial ends in HUNG JURY
Dana was found guilty at the end of the first trial in 2012, however, this was overturned in 2018 due to prosecutorial misconduct
TOPEKA, KANSAS: The second trial of a double-murder case, spanning over a period of 20 years has ended in a hung jury. In a case described by prosecutor Charles Kitt as being one of "jealousy, rage and obsession," Dana Chandler was first charged for the double murders of her ex-husband Mike Sisco and his fiancee, Karen Harkness, in 2002.
The first trial, which ended in 2012 established the 62-year-old Kansas woman's guilt. This was, however, overturned in 2018 owing to prosecutorial misconduct. Now, with the second trial ending in a hung jury, Hailey Sisco, daughter of Dana and Mike, was left in tears as she had testified that she believed her mother had killed her father.
Despite deliberating for six days, the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, the jury foreman Ben Alford revealed that seven out of twelve jurors wanted to convict Chandler, the "scorned ex-wife" described by the prosecutors. This was opposed by the rest of the jury who found the 62-year-old to be innocent of the charges laid on her 20 years ago.
The former couple's daughter too was convinced of her mother's guilt and could later be seen crying as she hugged prosecutor Charles Kitt when the jury failed to reach a decision. Her mother, the accused, on the other hand, joyously hugged Tom Bath, the defense attorney. Her fate now relies on the next steps of the case, a hearing for which will be held later this month.
The Kansas woman, initially declared guilty of the double murders in 2012, had been sentenced to life imprisonment. The case had been highly publicized and garnered significant public interest. However, the Kansas Supreme Court overturned the conviction, citing the misconduct of one prosecutor who was later disbarred. The second trial, which began on August 5, 2022, had been delayed due to the innumerable motions filed by Chandler's legal team.
According to the Kansas City Star, during his opening statements, prosecutor Kitt had told the jury, "Science is not going to solve this case," adding that it stemmed from "jealousy, rage and obsession." As a result, the prosecutors continued with the argument that despite little physical proof, Chandler was obsessed with her ex-husband and resented the divorce. Her bitterness arose to such an extent that she resorted to stalking him and his new fiancee, having even called them "about 700 times in the seven months leading up to their deaths" as per phone records.
Nevertheless, Chandler claimed that her alibi was solid - she was in Colorado as opposed to Topeka, where the couple was shot to death in their basement bedroom on July 7, 2002. The accused's legal team also argued that the police's obsession with Chandler made them overlook other suspects who could have actually committed the crime.