Chandler challenges judge during murder motion hearing

Dana Chandler (WIBW)
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Three times on Friday Dana Lynn Chandler asked a judge to block three would-be expert witnesses called by prosecutors from testifying in her double-murder trial.

Three times, the judge said, no.

Chandler, 59, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the July 7, 2002, shooting deaths of Michael Sisco, her former husband, and Karen Harkness in her west Topeka home. Each was shot at least five times.

Chandler is acting as her own attorney, aided by a a standby attorney and a research attorney.

At one point on Friday, Chandler appeared frustrated when the Senior Judge Robert Fairchild approved three prosecution witnesses while acknowledging he hadn't heard detailed testimony from the three witnesses. Fairchild said his rulings on testimony were "conditional," he wasn't going to hear the case multiple times, and attorneys would question witnesses more at length during the trial before he would allow them to testify.

Chandler insisted she needed to know whether the three witnesses would testify during the trial so she could prepare for the trial by hiring her own expert witnesses if needed. Otherwise it would "prejudice" her ability to defend herself, she said.

The judge ruled, and Chandler again complained, continuing to argue her point after he ruled against her.

"You don't have a right to rebut once I've made a ruling," Fairchild said. "Once I rule, I don't want to argue about it."

Fairchild conditionally approved the testimony of:

-- FBI Special Agent Ryan Williams, who conducted cellular phone analysis to determine whether Chandler's phone was in a specific area. Williams examined cell tower lists and billing records to determine "call patterns."

Williams examined phone records from May 26, 2002, to July 10, 2002, and determined "many, many" calls on Chandler's phone number were placed to the victims, and only on two weekends of June 8 and 9, 2012, and July 6 and 7, 2012, were calls not made to the victims.

-- Mark Johnson, a former computer forensics examiner for the FBI and now linked to the U.S. Attorneys Office in Western Missouri.

-- Bradley Campbell, a master automotive technician since 1990.
On Feb. 1, 2012, Campbell removed two front seats from a 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse, who had owned the car until she sold it in 2005. Campbell had been hired to remove the front two seats from the Eclipse.

The seat "looked like" seats that were installed at the factory, Campbell said.

Chief District Attorney Dan Dunbar said the relevance of the driver's seat was that Chandler had stated that at the time of the slayings, she had stopped at a store to buy some clothes because she had bled through her clothing during her period. Dunbar said the prosecutor obtained the seat to see whether the seat had blood on it, and it didn't.
Chandler's four-week trial is to start on Sept. 16.