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Chandler Halderson found guilty of killing his parents

Chandler Halderson was found guilty on all counts relating to the homicides of his parents

Chandler Halderson sentenced to life without possibility of parole

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The 24-year-old Dane County man convicted of killing his parents last summer was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Thursday, a judge ruled.

Chandler Halderson will receive the maximum penalties for the other charges, which will be served concurrently. Halderson received three years for the two counts of false information in a kidnapping, 7 years and 6 months for the two counts of mutilating a corpse, and 7 years and 6 months for two counts of hiding a corpse.

Halderson has 20 days to file for an appeal, which the defendant said he would be in his first time speaking during the duration of the trial process.

“It’s not that I do not have feelings, it’s that that I was warned not to show them due to the scrutiny of this case,” Chandler Halderson said, prior to the judge reading his decision.

Prosecutors started by describing the nature of the defendant, saying he had two parents who supported him. Bart Halderson served as a Boy Scout den leader and attended his son’s swim meets. Prosecutors argued that the only real tragedy Chandler Halderson ever experienced was the loss of his maternal grandparents as a child and the only “potential criticism” they could give him was that his mother may have doted on him too much.

The prosecutor also stated that during all jail calls and messages with detectives that prosecutors listened to, there was never a moment where Chandler Halderson had mourned his parents’ death. She described that as “unique.”

The first victim impact statement was from the fiancée of Chandler Halderson’s brother, Mitchell Halderson. She said that she had lost her future mother and father-in-law and that she would miss them every day. She also stated that both her and her fiancé would be uncomfortable if the court allowed Chandler Halderson the opportunity to have parole.

Chandler Halderson’s grandmother penned the next victim impact statement read by prosecutors.

“I love him even though what he did was horrific,” the statement from Chandler Halderson’s grandmother said, followed by that she hoped he would find a trade or craft while he was in prison. She also said that his parents would not want him to be incarcerated for life.

Krista Halderson’s best friend of 38 years, Jane Hilgendorf, was the next person who had a victim impact statement. Hilgendorf had testified during the trial, as well. She described Krista as having a lightness about her and that when she walked in the room, she made people feel happier.

“Being a mom was her purpose in life,” said Hilgendorf.

Deputy District Attorney William Brown asked the judge to sentence Chandler Halderson without the possibility of parole. He stated that the court needs to consider potential rehabilitation needs for the defendant and the safety of the public.

“Mr. Halderson by all accounts chose to commit the crime of first-degree intentional homicide twice on a single day because he was caught lying about where he was working and going to school,” Brown said. “Or perhaps just where he was just going to school.”

Defense attorney Crystal Vera followed Brown, saying that there were no statements sent from the defense. She said the defense was asking the judge for the possibility of parole for Chandler Halderson, emphasizing that it is not a guarantee.

“So, it’s not a process that is a guarantee,” Vera said. “It is simply a process that we are asking that you allow for the possibility of that process happening. I cannot stress that enough, I cannot stress enough how all we are asking for today is the possibility of this man to show you that he is redeemable.”

She also argued that Chandler, who is 24 years old, has a lot of “growing up” and “adulting” that he is going to miss out on and have to go through in an institution.

When Chandler Halderson spoke for the first time, he said that if any lawyers were listening, he plans to appeal his convictions.

Following the defendant’s statement, Judge Hyland said that if there were any positives, it was to the demonstration of pride we should feel in area law enforcement for how they investigated and presented evidence. Dane Co. Sheriff Kalvin Barrett sat in on the sentencing.

While he did not know the Haldersons, the judge said that he knows people like them and he can understand the empty space their losses leave for all who knew the couple.

“This court honors your loss,” Hyland said.

He explained that on top of the offenses themselves, Chandler Halderson’s actions to hide the crime makes them even worse. Ultimately, for the safety of the public, Hyland ruled that he could not give Halderson the chance to receive extended supervision.

“I don’t like telling his grandmother that I’m not able to give her the relief that she’s asking for out of her love for her grandson. I cannot do that,” Hyland said. “I have to for this sentencing ensure that the only time Mr. Halderson comes back to the community is to have the privilege of a burial that he denied his parents.”

“I have to for this sentencing ensure that the only time Mr. Halderson comes back to the community is to have the privilege of a burial that he denied his parents.” - Judge Hyland

Chandler Halderson had to be there when a Dane Co. court handed down his sentence for killing both Bart and Krista Halderson, a judge ruled. The 24-year-old Halderson had requested to skip his sentencing. State law requires he receive life sentences for the two convictions of 1st degree intentional homicide for the deaths of Bart and Krista Halderson. He will also be sentenced for six other charges, including two each of mutilating a corpse, hiding a corpse, and providing false information on kidnapped or missing persons.

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - After about two hours of deliberations, the jury has found Chandler Halderson guilty of killing his parents last summer.

The 23-year Dane County man was found guilty on two counts of first degree intentional homicide in the deaths of his parents, Bart and Krista Halderson. He was also found guilty on the charges of providing false information on a kidnapping, two counts of mutilating a corpse and two counts of hiding a corpse.

Chandler Halderson looked straight forward during the reading of the verdict.

The tentative date for a sentencing hearing is March 17 or 18, though the attorneys say they need to get back to the judge.

The court revoked Halderson’s bail, meaning he cannot post bond at any point before his sentencing to be released.

The mandatory sentence for first degree intentional homicide in Wisconsin is life in prison.

Day nine in the trial of Chandler Halderson started with a rapid-fire of major developments, starting with prosecutors indicating

they were done calling witnesses. Next, defense attorneys revealed they did not intend to call any witnesses. That included Chandler Halderson himself, who opted not take the stand in his own defense.

In a statement from Dane Co. Sheriff Kalvin Barrett, he extended sympathies to the family of Bart and Krista Halderson following the reading of the verdict.

“Throughout this investigation and trial, they have been in the forefront of our thoughts,” Barrett said. “This is one of the most extensive investigations the Dane County Sheriff’s Office has faced. Our detectives, deputies and civilian staff worked tirelessly to determine what really happened to Bart and Krista. I could not be more proud of their work.”

He thanked various agencies who assisted over the course of this investigation, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Justice and the Wisconsin State Crime Lab. He also extended his thoughts to neighbors, friends and family who shared “vital information” during the investigation.

Prosecutors had indicated Wednesday that the end was in sight for them and that they may be finished by the end of that day. By the time Wednesday’s session wrapped up though they had not rested. It was when Thursday began and before the jury was seated that the state told Judge John Hyland that it would not call any more witnesses.

It was then that Halderson’s attorneys stated they would not call anyone, and their client did not intend testify either. Hyland asked the defense if they would go ahead and rest their case immediately as well, so that jurors would not have to come in, only to be dismissed again.

After they agreed, the jurors needed to be seated to hear the dramatic developments that had already happened Thursday morning, before the clock struck 9 a.m.

With both sides rested, the judge delivered jury instructions, advising them of the law and their role, for each of the eight charges. After receiving the instructions, prosecutors began their final argument, walking jurors through the chronology of their case. The judge noted that these closing arguments are not to be viewed as fact.

As the state began its closing arguments, it apologized for showing graphic images. Prosecutors contended that the images were necessary for the jurors to see.

The prosecution laid out the timeline of the lies regarding Chandler Halderson’s education and work, reasserting their believed motive that the deaths happened because Chandler Halderson’s father uncovered his “web of lies” about these aspects of his life. The state also explained the events that unfolded after when they believe Bart and Krista Halderson had been killed, such as Chandler Halderson’s location and items he bought, including a tarp and ice, following July 1.

The prosecutor explained the most “eerie” day, in her opinion, of the events that followed the homicides was the day of July 4 when Chandler Halderson seemingly took a pause to live a normal life, attending a holiday barbeque at his girlfriend’s mother’s partner’s home. She finished her timeline by recounting when authorities found the remains of Bart Halderson, noting evidence from the medical examiner showed Bart had been shot at least twice, once with the muzzle of the gun touching his back.

“I’m asking you give justice to Bart and Krista. And I’m asking you to give them the respect their son never gave them,” the prosecutor said as she completed her closing arguments.

Next, the defense reminded the jury that it was their job to ensure the state could prove the charges against Chandler Halderson beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense attorneys admitted that Chandler has told many lies, but said everyone in the room has also likely told a lie and kept it going, particularly in their youth.

She pointed out that the evidence presented will never prove how Krista Halderson died, nor did it show if Bart and Krista Halderson were aware of the claim of Chandler receiving a job at SpaceX or being a member of a dive team. These were both claims Chandler had made to friends and acquaintances, which were later proven to be false.

The defense noted that there is no way to know what consequences could have come from the Halderson couple learning of their son’s lies, which she said makes it hard to prove that Chandler Halderson had intent when it came to the crimes, meaning first-degree intentional homicide would not be the right charge issued by the state.

The defense stated it is also unknown of what type of gun was used in the homicide of Bart Halderson, despite the state’s references multiple times to a rifle found a shed on the Cottage Grove property owned by Chandler’s girlfriend’s mother’s partner.

The defense ending its closing argument by telling the jury that if they are hoping for some solid piece of evidence to tell them what truly happened in this case, then that person has reasonable doubt and should think about that when they are deciding what charges to find Chandler Halderson guilty of.

The state then delivered its rebuttal to the defense’s arguments, arguing that common sense indicates that the killings of Bart and Krista Halderson was not an accident. He called the alleged acts of Chandler Halderson as “the ultimate act of betrayal” one individual could have to another, and to one’s parents.

A prosecutor then accused the defense attorneys of asking the jurors to lie when it came to the verdict, which a defense attorney objected to. Both attorneys approached the judge for several minutes. The judge reminded the jury and the courtroom that closing arguments are opinions of the attorneys and that the state was not trying to say the defense had lied.

The state finished its rebuttal by asking the jurors to dig through their notes and see that the crimes allegedly committed were not by accident or a mistake.

Following the completion of closing arguments, the judge read the jury more instructions and handed out 16 forms. Each of the eight charges receive two forms each, one for guilty and one for not guilty. One juror was chosen as the presiding juror and the judge will read the verdict.

Seventeen of the original 18 jurors selected for the case are still seated. One juror was dismissed early this week after revealing he tested positive for COVID-19 over the hiatus caused by Halderson’s own positive test. After closing arguments end, twelve of the remaining jurors will be selected to decide the defendant’s fate.

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