DA Will Seek Maximum Sentence In Dana Chandler Murder Case

Dana Chandler
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Prosecutors say they will seek the stiffest possible punishment for Dana Chandler, convicted in a nearly ten-year old double murder case.

Jurors delivered the verdict Thursday, finding Chandler guilty in the murders of her ex-husband Mike Sisco and his fiancee Karen Harkness.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor said prosecutors will seek two life sentences to run consecutively. A life sentence carries a minimum of 25 years, for a total of 50 years Chandler would have to serve before being considered for parole.

At a press conference Friday morning, Taylor echoed the mixed emotions that left the families of Harkness and Sisco in tears when they heard the guilty verdict against Dana Chandler.

"This is a day I'm very proud of," Taylor said of the previous day's proceedings. "However it's not a day that because of our success [..] will ever bring back Mike and Karen."

Without forensic evidence that put Chandler at the Topeka home where Harkness and Sisco were found dead of multiple gunshot wounds on July 7, 2002, Taylor and Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacquie Spradling focused on Chandler's jealousy and rage for her ex and his fiancee, building their case on circumstantial evidence.

"There's a perception out there that in every homicide case prosecuted in Shawnee County and every conviction that we get here, that we're gonna have a gun, and we're gonna have a ton of forensic evidence," Taylor said, "That's not true."

"Jacquie did a wonderful job of guiding the jury around that which is Hollywood and that which is reality," he said of his co-prosecutor.

Circumstantial evidence is evidence, Taylor said.

Taylor revealed that though he and Spradling knew they had looked at every piece of evidence, leaving no stone unturned, he did not always feel confident of the outcome.

"There is always that concern [..] is there gonna be a hold-out? Is there going to be that one juror that we weren't able to reach, or that one juror who just, at the end of the day, says 'I've gotta have a fingerprint'?"

Taylor credits Chandler's own children with being key witnesses in the case.

"The testimony of her children was without doubt the most doubt the most damning evidence," he said.

A panel of 10 women and 2 men took just 90 minutes to give the families the closure they have been waiting more than nine years to find.

After the verdict, Hailey Sisco told reporters she felt good about the verdict, but not victorious.

"Nobody should get away with doing anything like that, even if it is your own mom," she said.

Dana Chandler's sentencing is on June 1.