Shanwee County Courthouse
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No Court Today!

The Dana Chandler Mistrial on on hold until Tuesday, I am told. I am assuming that the judge is setting aside today and Monday for some sort of in-house negotiations and motions and in-chambers meetings and DA Mike Kagay and the judge desperately trying to figure out what to do.

There are many ideas and theories floating around speculating on “whats really going on”, but one thing is for sure: This is highly unusual

During this trial, the prosecution has failed to provide ANY physical evidence that places the accused at the crime scene, or even in Kansas. They have failed to come up with a murder weapon, much less place it in Chandler’s hands, They have failed to come up with credible eyewitnesses to place Chandler at the scene, or in Kansas, and in a couple of hilarious moments, eyewitnesses that swore, literally swore under oath that what they were saying was 100% true couldn’t keep their stories straight, and that for example, a car that they swore was Dana’s that they swore they saw in the neighborhood and they KNEW it was Dana’s because of the *Colorado Tags* that they swore were on it, and continued to swear under oath, when they were shown a picture of Dana’s car at the time was the one they saw, even though the picture they where being shown on the big-screen TV in the courtroom CLEARLY showed the car with its ARIZONE PLATES, as it was registered in Arizona still, where Chandler had lived just prior to moving to Denver Colorado.

Even the jury was having a hard time stifling their laughter even as this witness SWORE that the car was the one he saw. And he was so happy and proud to be testifying in this case! He walked proudly smiling out of the court room after his testimony not even noticing that the car in the picture had ARIZONA plates clearly visible as he pointed at it and said “Yup! Thats the car! The car with the Colorado plates!” And THAT is a short and brief snap shot of how this entire trial has gone.

Testimony from friends and co-workers of victims Karen Harkness testified that Harkness had come to work complaining that she had been ‘kept up all night by the defendant’s barrage of threatening and harassing phone calls’. They were proven by the actual phone records to be….well, lets not say “Lying”, but more like repeating things that simply could not be true.

The defense team did an amazing job of thoroughly debunking these claims using the phone records and cell tower records (And having that backed up by FBI agents showing the same things on their phone records.) They proved that Chandler simply did not make those phone calls, and then an examination of emails written and sent by the victim at around the same time did NOT mention these phone calls or the behavior from Chandler that other witnesses testified to.

And while it was not brought out blatantly in the trial, it did seem to become revealed that maybe the shows “48 Hours” and “Unsolved Mysteries” might have played more of a part in crafting the narrative that the witnesses where attesting to than previously believed.

Other FBI testimony showed that the Topeka Police Department had mishandled evidence from the beginning, destroyed or lost evidence,  and had bungled the case from the start.

The prosecution didn’t have a case to begin with. And they have failed to prove much of anything besides the fact that they just didn’t have a case. 

THIS reporter is not suggesting that the end is near, or that an acquittal is just around the corner.  It COULD be that the Judge and court are taking all due diligence and extra steps and maybe even researching some issues to make sure that they have not made an “reversable error” (Or UN-reversable error”) in allowing or disallowing certain testimony or evidence to be entered or excluded.  They MIGHT be doing this and taking extra time and diligence to AVOID a mistrial or continuing with an error that had been made earlier but not noticed or realized….or how to back down off of a thin limb that they have crawled out on.

Much speculation. Time will tell. Is this just a big “Cover our asses” delay? Or are they actually working on doing true justice? I have a very hard time believing that Charles Witt and Mike Kagay etc actually BELIEVE their own case. And now the charade has gone on far too long.

Here is WIBW’s version of things:

Chandler retrial(WIBW/Phil Anderson)

Dana Chandler retrial recessed until Tuesday in Topeka (wibw.com)

By Phil Anderson

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 9:33 AM CDT|Updated: 2 hours ago

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The double-murder retrial of Dana Chandler is on hold at the Shawnee County Courthouse.

A sign that was posted Friday morning on a fourth-floor courtroom said “Case number 11-CR-1329 will be in recess until Tuesday, August 24 At 9:00 AM.”

No reason was given for the recess.

Friday marked the second day in a row the retrial was in recess.

Rios entered the courtroom around at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, some 30 minutes after the scheduled 9 a.m. start time for the day’s proceedings.

She then announced to the jury that the retrial would be in recess that day.

Rios told the jurors that the court would call them later Thursday if they were to return on Friday.

After the jurors filed out of the courtroom Thursday morning, Rios addressed both the prosecution and defense as they sat at their tables in the courtroom.

“OK, counsel,” Rios told them at 9:33 a.m. “We are adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow.”

After that, that, some attendees in the gallery stayed in the courtroom and visited among themselves for about 10 minutes.

As court wasn’t in session Friday, the retrial will have a five-day recess, including the weekend, by the time the court is back in session on Tuesday.

Chandler was arrested in 2011 and charged with the July 7, 2002, murders of her ex-husband Mike Sisco, 47, and his fiancé, Karen Harkness, 53, at a duplex in the 2200 block of S.W. Westport Square in west Topeka. The location was just east of S.E. 22nd Park and Wanamaker.

Chandler was convicted of the double-murder in 2012.

However, in 2018, the Kansas Supreme Court overturned Chandler’s conviction, citing misconduct by former prosecutor Jacqie Spradling, who has since been disbarred.

Chandler, who has maintained her innocence, then was granted a retrial, which is ongoing.

Following her conviction, Chandler was at the Topeka Correctional Facility, the state’s only prison for women.

Since 2018, when her conviction was overturned, she has been in the Shawnee County Jail.

The retrial began on Friday, Aug. 5, with opening arguments from the prosecution and defense.

It was expected to last up to three weeks, but that was before the recess that is covering three actual days in the courtroom.

Charles Kitt, chief of staff for the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office, is prosecuting the case for the state.

Chandler, 62, is being represented by defense lawyers Tom Bath, Tricia Bath and Mark Hartman, of the Leawood-based firm Bath & Edmonds.

During the retrial’s first nine days, testimony was heard from approximately 50 different people, including family members of Harkness and Sisco; Topeka police officers and detectives; a Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent; and a former business acquaintance of Chandler’s from Denver.

Testimony also was heard from a friend of Chandler’s from Arizona; experts from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation; coworkers and friends of Harkness; and former neighbors of Harkness in the 2200 block of S.W. Westport Square.

The retrial, like the first one in 2012, is garnering national media attention.

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