Disciplinary hearing opens for former Shawnee Co. prosecutor

Jacqie Spradling, left, arrives with her legal team Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, for a hearing into...
Jacqie Spradling, left, arrives with her legal team Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, for a hearing into alleged misconduct during murder and sexual assault cases.(Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector (Custom credit) | Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)
Published: Dec. 7, 2020 at 8:44 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Nearly 20 years ago, a woman accused of hunting victims was researching on disc drive computers, a now-retired Kansas investigator testified Monday in the disciplinary action against a former senior Shawnee County prosecutor.

John Kite was one of about a half dozen witnesses to testify Monday during the disciplinary hearing of Jacqie Spradling, who was the senior assistant district attorney prosecuting the case of Dana Lynn Chandler. Kite was tasked with reviewing the disc drive computers Chandler used in 2002, when Michael Sisco, 47, and Karen Harkness, 53, were shot and killed in Harkness’ southwest Topeka home.

Chandler, now 60, was convicted in 2012 of first-degree murder for the deaths. Sisco was Chandler’s former husband, and Harkness was his current fiance. The Kansas Supreme Court overturned the convictions in 2018, citing Spradling for prosecutorial misconduct.

According to the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator, Spradling acted improperly during the Chandler trial, lied to the Kansas Supreme Court, and had broken the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct.

Matthew J. Vogelsberg, the deputy disciplinary administrator, made the opening statement against Spradling. Topeka attorney L.J. Leatherman made the opening remarks in defense of Spradling.

Kite testified for hours Monday about the disc drives. He was a senior special Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent in the KBI cyber-crimes unit, and examined the disc drive computers Chandler used in 2002.

Kite identified his own notes. He said he was seeking information to be used by investigators and prosecutors.

“My job was to find something of some value to the case,” Kite testified.

Charles Kitt, the current deputy district attorney for Shawnee Co., also testified Monday. He is prosecuting Chandler’s retrial, and says some evidence Spradling used to gain the 2012 conviction doesn’t exist.

The Kansas Reflector reports, in his opening statement, Vogelsberg said Spradling fabricated a phone conversation between Chandler and Sisco, claimed Chandler violated a restraining order that did not exist, and said Chandler drove from Topeka to Denver by way of Nebraska after the murders.

Kitt testified there was no way to know what was said during the phone conversation, there never was a restraining order, and they had no evidence Chandler was in Nebraska.

The disciplinary case against Spradling also includes a case against Jacob Ewing in Jackson County. The Kansas Court of Appeals overturned his conviction for rape and other sex crimes because of false statements Spradling made about the evidence in that case.

Leatherman said Spradling prepared to the best of her ability. He said, with the overwhelming amount of evidence, she was confused on what was admitted. He said mistakes were made, but they were not intentional.

However, Ewing’s mother Wendy told the Kansas Relector that Spradling knew exactly what she was doing.

Chandler was sentenced to two consecutive 50-year prison terms. She remains in Shawnee County Jail in lieu of bond and is awaiting a second trial, which has not yet been scheduled.

Spradling’s hearing is expected to last all week. A decision may not come for several months.

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