Judge refused Chandler request for DA to foot $7K bill for video

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A judge refused Thursday to order the Shawnee Co. District Attorney's office to pay approximately $7,000 to reproduce a video copy for Dana Lynn Chandler of her first murder trial in 2012.

A copy of the entire trial minus opening and closing statements, a half dozen witnesses, and footage of the verdict is available to Chandler. But Chandler, who is acting as her own attorney, wants all of the trial, which was videotaped by "48 Hours," the CBS news magazine.

On Thursday, Chandler told District Court Judge Nancy Parrish she could use some statements from the opening and closing arguments, the verdict and "impeaching evidence" in statements made by the lead prosecutor in the first trial.

But Charles Kitt, a prosecutor in the Chandler retrial, objected to footing the bill for the complete trial video, saying Chandler has transcripts of the trial and she could order a copy through the address he provided to Chander last fall.

The judge asked the cost of the entire trial, and Kitt mentioned the $7,000 price tag.

At several points, Chandler said the tape could include "Brady material." The phrase refers to the case Brady v. Maryland, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled prosecutors must turn over any evidence favorable to the defendant.

"I don't see how it would be Brady material," Parrish said. The judge denied Parrish's request for video request, saying the tape isn't evidence.

Chandler, 59, is scheduled to be re-tried in June on two counts of first-degree murder in the killings on July 7, 2002, of Michael Sisco and Karen Harkness in Harkness' southwest Topeka home. Sisco, the former husband of Chandler, was engaged to Harkness.

Chandler was convicted of the charges in 2012, and sentenced to two consecutive 50-year terms.

On April 6, 2018, the Kansas Supreme Court overturned the murder convictions based on a finding a prosecutor falsely led jurors to think Chandler violated a protection from abuse order obtained by Sisco. However, no such order existed.

Several times Thursday, Kitt told the judge the district attorney's office had provided every record and document Chandler has requested if it existed. Topeka police brought over evidence for Chandler to look at for four or five days, and prosecutors have made copies of records requested by Chandler.

The judge did grant several of Chandler's motions to provide statements, including if the sought-after records were to surface later.

Chandler also asked the judge to order prosecutors to hand over a copy of a letter dated May 21, 2018, from a neighbor who might have spotted a car perhaps tied to the slayings in the neighborhood where Harkness' home was located.

Parrish ordered prosecutors to hand over a copy of the letter, and Kitt did so.

At Kitt's request, the judge said the defense is required to reciprocate with the sharing of evidence.