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In disciplinary hearing, prosecutor expresses remorse in first Chandler trial

(WIBW)
Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 5:27 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The prosecutor who faces disciplinary action tied to a high-profile double-murder case  owned her errors on Thursday when she faced the panel of the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator’s Office.

In one case, then-Senior Assistant District Attorney Jacqie Spradling prosecuted Dana Lynn Chandler, who was charged with the shooting deaths of Mike Sisco and Karen Harkness, in Harkness’ west Topeka home.

Sisco and Harkness were engaged to be married, witnesses said during the hearing.

“I’ve always believed there was a (protection from abuse order issued to Sisco),” Spradling said Thursday when she faced a panel in the disciplinary hearing. “I was dead wrong.

“Being wrong is embarrassing,” Spradling said. “I’m not sure anybody can be harder on me than me.”

Spradling showed the pain at times on Thursday.

“My responsibility as a prosecutor is to protect people, and I failed in these cases,” Spradling said.

On Thursday, a panel member asked Spradling what she wanted panel members to know in their considerations of the defendant.

Spradling asked them to know of her loyalty and belief in justice.

“No one wants their cases overturned,” Spradling said.

“I have let the system down, I have let the victims down, and I have denied the defendant a fair trial,” Spradling said.

Besides Sisco and Harkness, there were a series of victims in Jackson County where Jacob Ewing was charged in a series of cases tied to multiple sex offenses in Jackson County.

On Friday, the two sides will make closing arguments.

Then members of the hearing panel will deliberate and will issue a written report detailing the findings of facts and conclusions of law, Gayle Larkin said Thursday.

Larkin is the counsel to the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys, which is in Topeka.

If the hearing panel finds a violation occurred, the panel will recommend the discipline to be administered, Larkin said.

The types of discipline the Kansas Supreme Court can administer include informal admonition, censure, suspension, and disbarment.

Thursday was the fourth day of the disciplinary hearing conducted in the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator’s office in Topeka.

The Kansas disciplinary administrator’s office alleges Spradling violated rules dealing with candor toward a tribunal, trial publicity that would prejudice a legal matter, and special responsibilities of a prosecutor.

Spradling now is the Bourbon County attorney.

The re-trial of Chandler, 60, who faces two counts of first-degree murder, is pending.

Pre-trial motions are being heard in that case, but a trial date hasn’t been scheduled yet.

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