Judge calls recess Thursday morning in Day 10 of Dana Chandler retrial in Topeka

Day 10 of the Dana Chandler double-murder retrial Thursday in Shawnee County District Court ended before it started.
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 10:07 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Day 10 of the Dana Chandler double-murder retrial Thursday in Shawnee County District Court ended before it started.

Around 9:30 a.m., about a half-hour after the session was to start, Shawnee County District Court Judge Cheryl Rios announced to the jury that the retrial would be in recess Thursday.

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

Rios then said at 9:33 a.m., “OK, counsel, we are adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow.”

At that, Thursday’s session officially ended.

Some attendees stayed in the courtroom and visited among themselves for about 10 minutes after court was adjourned.

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 west Topeka residence.

Chandler was convicted of the crimes 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.

The retrial began Friday, Aug. 5 in Shawnee County District Court and is expected to last up to three weeks.

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.

The defense requested to waive its right to a speedy trial shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday in Day 9 of the proceedings.

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 in southwest Topeka, where the homicides occurred.

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

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