Dana Chandler’s bond reduced to $350,000 from $1 million in Thursday hearing

Four weeks after her double-murder retrial ended in a hung jury, Dana Chandler was back in Shawnee County District Court on Thursday.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 4:25 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Four weeks after her double-murder retrial ended in a hung jury, Dana Chandler was back in Shawnee County District Court on Thursday afternoon for a status conference.

Among matters decided -- a defense attorney motion to acquit Chandler was denied; a defense motion to reduce Chandler’s bond to $350,000 from $1 million was granted; and a defense request to move the trial to Johnson County was tentatively approved.

As part of the bond reduction, Chandler would live with her nephew in Olathe and abide by conditions of her bond.

A request for a change of venue for a third trial was made by Chandler defense attorney Tom Bath, with Johnson County District Court in Olathe mentioned as a possibility.

Shawnee County Deputy District Attorney Charles Kitt countered that the new trial should be in Topeka.

Citing extensive media coverage of the recently completed retrial, Shawnee County District Court Judge Cheryl Rios sided with the defense request for a change of venue.

However, Kitt stated a change of venue request would have to be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Chandler, 62, was arrested in 2011 in Oklahoma in connection with the double-murders of her ex-husband Mike Sisco, 47, and his fiance Karen Harkness, 53, at a west Topeka residence in July 2002.

Chandler was convicted of both murders in a 2012 trial in Shawnee County District Court in Topeka.

However, the Kansas Supreme Court in 2018 overturned the convictions, citing prosecutorial misconduct.

A retrial was ordered and took place from Aug. 5 to Sept. 1.

After six days of deliberations, the 12 jurors on Sept. 1 announced they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Officials said the final vote of jurors was seven in favor of convicting Chandler and five in favor of acquitting her.

Chandler has maintained her innocence throughout the proceedings.

Following her 2012 conviction, Chandler was incarcerated at the Topeka Correctional Facility.

After the convictions were overturned by the Kansas Supreme Court, Chandler was transferred in May 2018 to the Shawnee County Jail, where she has been held on a $1 million bond.

That bond was reduced to $350,000 late Thursday afternoon, meaning Chandler would have to come up with $35,000 to be released.

Chandler is being represented by defense lawyers Tom Bath, Tricia Bath and Mark Hartman.

In a motion filed Sept. 8, defense lawyers requested Judge Rios to acquit Chandler.

The Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office on Sept. 22 responded to the motion to acquit Chandler by petitioning Rios not to acquit her and to order a new trial.

Chandler’s defense team then filed a motion on Sept. 23 to reduce Chandler’s bond., which was granted Thursday afternoon.

The third trial is set to begin Feb. 6, 2023, and last four weeks, until March 3, 2023.

Chandler remained in the Shawnee County Jail as of 7:45 p.m. Thursday.