Chandler's children secretly taped her, hoping she'd talk about slayings

Dana Chandler
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The adult children of murder defendant Dana Lynn Chandler were questioned Friday in court by Chandler about their recording of conversations with their mother focusing on the slayings of their father and his fiancee in 2002.

Chandler, 58, is acting as her own attorney in her retrial on two charges of first-degree murder.

Chandler questioned her daughter, Hailey Seel, for about 90 minutes, referring to her over and over as "Mrs. Seel" rather than her first name. At least once, the defendant called her son, Dustin Sisco, whom she questioned about five minutes, as "Mr. Sisco."

Chandler questioned her daughter and son during an all-day motion hearing in Shawnee County District Court.

On July 8, 2002, the day after Mike Sisco, 47, and his fiancee, Karen Harkness, 53, were shot to death, Seel phoned her mother.

"I was calling to tell my Mom that Mike and Karen had been shot and killed," Seel testified. The call didn't last long.

Chandler responded that she received a call a day earlier from someone who said the couple had been killed, but Chandler thought the call was a "prank," Seel said. That caller was Topeka police Sgt. Richard Volle, who called to make a "death notification," Volle said.

Seel testified she emphasized to Chandler that Sisco and Harkness had been killed.

"She really didn't say much," Seel said.

Seel taped her calls with Chandler, turning them over to Topeka police.

Seel had a series of in-person conversations with Chandler and phone calls with her mother in a two-month period in 2005.

"I was not interested in moving on with my life until I knew the didn't kill my father," Seel said.

"I wanted to compare her responses about my dad's murder to other responses (by Chandler) about my dad's murder."

Seel recorded a mother-daughter get-together at the Black-Eyed Pea, a Colorado night spot, in October 2005.

"She was very skittish, looking around, concerned about her surroundings," Seel said. "She wasn't comfortable with the surroundings."

Colorado law enforcement officers clad in street clothes were circulating in Black-Eyed Pea because of the mother-daughter outing, Seel said.

When the topic of the slayings surfaced, Seel's voice raised because "at the end, I was frustrated because she was not interested in proving she was innocent," Seel testified.

During questioning by Chandler on Friday, Seel said, "I wanted to know the truth. I wanted to know if you killed my dad. To have a relationship with you, I needed to know you weren't responsible for killing my dad."

In earlier testimony on Friday, a now-retired law enforcement officer about the arrest in 2011 of Chandler in Oklahoma.

When Chandler was arrested in a fast-food restaurant parking lot in Duncan, Okla., on June 25, 2011, on a warrant for two unsolved 2002 murders in Topeka, she said something to an Oklahoma Bureau of investigation agent, the retired special-agent-in-charge recalled Friday.

"Okay, I'm just glad to get this over with," Chandler said to Richard Goss. Chandler didn't make any other statements to Goss, he said.
Law enforcement officers from Kansas and Oklahoma took Chandler into custody in an Arby's lot and ordered her repeatedly to step out of her car.

"She was taken into custody at gunpoint," Goss said. She was ordered to exit her car, to lie on the ground, her hands were cuffed behind her back, and she was placed in Goss' vehicle.

Goss introduced himself to Chandler and served a Kansas arrest warrant for two counts of murder in the slayings of Mike Sisco and Harkness. Each victim was shot at least five times as the two slept.

Following a lengthy trial in 2012, Shawnee County District Court jurors convicted Chandler of two counts of first-degree murder. But on April 6, 2018, the Kansas Supreme Court overturned Chandler’s 2012 murder convictions, saying an earlier Shawnee County prosecutor falsely told jurors that a protection-from-abuse order was filed by Sisco against Chandler in her divorce case.

Besides the continuance of her trial, Chandler is seeking a series of motions, including to hire an investigator and more expert witnesses, and to ask a judge to find prosecutors in contempt of court.

Earlier in the hearing Friday, District Court Judge Nancy Parrish granted a defense request for a postponement of Chandler's retrial. The defendant had been scheduled to be tried in a three- to four-week trial starting on Jan. 29.

The new trial date is June 10. Friday was the second time the retrial had been postponed at Chandler's request. On Sept. 21, Parrish moved the trial to the Jan. 29 date.

The retrial originally was scheduled to start on Oct. 1.

In seeking the newest re-trial date, Chandler contended in motions that a number of pending motions haven't been resolved yet, including appointment of more defense expert witnesses, obtaining an unredacted copy of a CBS video recording all of Chandler's 2012 jury trial, recorded interviews during the investigation in July 2011, and a recorded phone conversation between Chandler and her daughter a day after the slayings.

Chandler said her defense hadn't received 10 discs of evidence and 1,200 pages of longitude and latitude cell tower records.