Trial of Dana Chandler for murder of Mike Sisco, Karen Harkness ends in jury


A Kansas woman’s second trial in the double murder of her ex-husband and fiance ended in a hung jury that left the former couple’s daughter sobbing.

After six days of deliberations, the jury Thursday was unable to reach a verdict on two first-degree murder charges against Dana Chandler, who prosecutors say was a despised ex-wife when she allegedly shot her 20 years ago.

Both victims, Mike Sisco, 47, and Karen Harkness, 53, were killed in Topeka in July 2002.

Jury chief Ben Alford told media representatives after the trial that seven of 12 jurors wanted to convict, but the rest of the jury would not come on board with a guilty verdict, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Hailey Sisco, Chandler’s daughter, said she believed her mother killed her father. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, she was seen crying as she hugged prosecutor Charles Kitt at the end of the trial.

A tearful Haley Sisco testified about her mother’s behavior during Chandler’s first trial in 2012.

Meanwhile, Chandler, 62, was hugged by her defense attorney Tom Bath, the newspaper reported.

A hearing to decide next steps in the case will be held later this month.

Chandler was actually found guilty of double murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2012, but the Kansas Supreme Court overturned the misconduct conviction of a prosecutor who was later stripped of his bar.

The trial, which began Aug. 5, has been postponed multiple times as Chandler’s defense team filed countless motions.

Though there was little physical evidence, prosecutors argued she was obsessed with Sisco and embittered about the divorce, which led to her even spying on the new couple. She called him and his new fiancé about 700 times in the seven months before her death, according to phone records.

Mike Sisco and Karen Harkness
Chandler was accused of killing his ex-husband Mike Sisco and his fiancee Karen Harkness in July 2002.

“This is not a case that science can solve,” Kitt said during the trial. “This case is about jealousy of Mike Sisco. Jealousy that Mike Sisco could get on with his life. Jealousy about the new relationship Mike Sisco had found.”

Chandler claimed she was in Colorado, where she lived, at the time of the brutal shooting, but stories about her specific routes have been conflicting, according to court records. Her lawyer claimed the police ignored other suspects because they were too focused on them.

The double homicide was a cold case until a 2009 episode of CBS’ 48 Hours aired about the mystery, sparking renewed interest in the case.

Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said in a statement to the Topeka Capital-Journal that his office will “conduct a comprehensive review and analysis of the case and the recently concluded trial” as prosecutors consider bringing Chandler to trial for a third time to deliver.

With mail wires

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