One day after bond reduced, Dana Chandler remains in Shawnee County Jail in Topeka

A day after her bond was reduced to $350,000 from $1 million, Dana Chandler early Friday...
A day after her bond was reduced to $350,000 from $1 million, Dana Chandler early Friday afternoon remained in the Shawnee County Jail, where she has been held since May 2018.(AP)
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 2:08 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A day after her bond was reduced to $350,000 from $1 million, Dana Chandler on Friday remained in the Shawnee County Jail, where she has been held since May 2018.

Chandler’s bond was reduced Thursday afternoon during a status hearing in Shawnee County District Court following a retrial that lasted nearly four weeks and ended Sept. 1 in a hung jury.

Chandler will need $35,000 in cash, plus collateral to cover the remaining amount of the $350,000 bond, before she can be released from jail.

Chandler’s bond was reduced by Shawnee County District Court Judge Cheryl Rios late Thursday afternoon during the status conference, which lasted about 30 minutes.

Among stipulations on her possible release: Chandler is to wear a GPS monitoring device; is to refrain from consuming alcohol or illegal drugs; is to keep court appointments after her release; and is to have no contact with members of victims’ families or witnesses.

During Thursday’s status hearing, it was noted that Chandler would live with her nephew in Olathe following her release from the Shawnee County Jail.

Chandler was represented in the retrial by defense lawyers Tom Bath, Tricia Bath and Mark Hartman.

The state’s prosecution during the retrial was made by Shawnee County Deputy District Attorney Charles Kitt.

Chandler, 62, who has maintained her innocence, was arrested in 2011 in Oklahoma and was convicted in 2012 in Shawnee County District Court of the double-murders of her ex-husband Mike Sisco, 47, and his fiance Karen Harkness, 53, in July 2002 at a residence in the 2200 block of S.W. Westport Square in west Topeka.

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

A retrial was granted and took place from Aug. 5 to Sept. 1 in Shawnee County District Court.

More than 60 witnesses testified in the trial.

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

Shawnee County Deputy District Attorney Charles Kitt represented the state in the retrial.

After six days of deliberations, the 12 jurors weren’t able to reach a unanimous verdict in the retrial, which garnered local and national media attention. A hung jury was announced.

Officials said the final tally of the jurors was seven in favor of convicting Chandler and five in favor of acquitting her of the crimes.

Following the recently completed retrial, Chandler’s defense lawyers on Sept. 8 filed a motion to have Judge Rios acquit her of the crimes.

The Shawnee County Deputy District Attorney’s Office objected to the motion and in court documents filed Sept. 22 requested a new trial.

During Thursday afternoon’s status hearing, Rios rejected the defense attorney’s motion to acquit Chandler.

Chandler’s defense team on Sept. 23 requested Judge Rios to lower the bond. That motion was granted Thursday.

During the status hearing on Thursday, a third trial was ordered for Chandler and is scheduled to begin Feb. 6, 2023. The new trial is expected to last up to four weeks and conclude by March 3, 2023.

Tom Bath, one of Chandler’s defense lawyers, then requested a change of venue during the status conference on Thursday afternoon. The Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe was suggested as a possible location for the third trial.

Noting extensive media coverage of the just-completed retrial, and the difficulty expected in lining up jurors in Topeka who weren’t familiar with the case, Rios agreed to a change of venue.

Kitt then addressed the court and noted the change of venue could be granted only after it was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Following her conviction in 2012, Chandler was incarcerated at the Topeka Correctional Facility, the state’s only prison for females.

After her convictions were overturned in 2018, Chandler was moved to the Shawnee County Jail, where she had been held on a $1 million bond until Thursday’s reduction to $350,000.

Shawnee County Jail officials said Chandler hadn’t been released as of 10:25 p.m. Friday.

The next action in the case is a status conference set for Tuesday, Oct. 11, in the Shawnee County Courthouse, 200 S.E. 7th in downtown Topeka.

Check for more information as it becomes available.