Hung jury declared in Dana Chandler double-murder retrial

7 of 12 jurors voted in favor of conviction
Jurors announced their decision Thursday in a fourth-floor courtroom in the sixth day of their deliberations.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 2:43 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A hung jury has been declared in the Dana Chandler double-murder retrial in Shawnee County District Court.

Jurors announced their decision Thursday in a fourth-floor courtroom in the sixth day of their deliberations.

One juror told 13 NEWS that throughout deliberations the jury was mostly evenly split between guilty and not guilty. The juror told 13 NEWS that the final vote amongst jurors was seven in favor of conviction, five in favor of acquittal.

The retrial began Friday, Aug. 5.

Final testimony and closing arguments were heard Thursday, Aug. 25, when Judge Cheryl Rios gave the case to the 12-person jury. Chandler did not take the stand.

The retrial initially was expected to last up to three weeks. On Thursday, the retrial was in its fourth week.

The retrial on Thursday was in its 17th day.

A three-day recess took place on Thursday, Aug. 18; Friday, Aug. 19; and Monday, Aug. 22.

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 at 2231 S.W. Westport Square in west Topeka.

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 in Shawnee County District Court.

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

Chandler, 62, was represented by a trio of defense lawyers including Tom Bath, Tricia Bath and Mark Hartman, of the Leawood-based firm Bath & Edmonds.

Over the course of the retrial, testimony was heard from approximately 61 different people including family members of Harkness and Sisco; Topeka police officers and detectives; a Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent; a crime-scene investigator; 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, where the double-homicide occurred.

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

It is unclear if Chandler will be retried.