By Grace Wong
MADISON, Wis. (Court TV) — Chandler Halderson, 24, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing his parents and distributing their body parts in wooded areas of Dane County, Wisconsin.
In handing down the harshest sentence possible, Judge John Hyland appeared emotional at times, stopping to blow his nose. He thanked the jurors who decided the case and expressed his appreciation for the dedication of the individuals who worked the case. In reaching his decision, he said it was his duty to protect the public and consider the gravity of the crimes, which he said outweighed the possibility that Halderson could one day be rehabilitated.
The defendant appearing in a blue prison uniform, his hair cut short, surprised the judge by making a brief statement. He stated simply that he intended to appeal his convictions and invited any lawyers listening to reach out to him.
“It’s not that I do not have feelings,” he said. “I was warned not to show them due to the scrutiny of the case.”
Prosecutor Andrea Raymond said investigators interviewed more than 100 people to compile the defendant’s pre-sentencing report. She said it was worth nothing that in all the jailhouse calls and messages detectives reviewed, ‘there was never even a moment that Chandler mourned his parents’ death.’
She found it unusual based on her experience, even those defendants who kill abusive family members express remorse. She asked the judge to note that when someone told Halderson about his parents’ memorial service, he suggested they watch a slasher movie to overcome their sadness.
Prosecutor William Brown appealed for a sentence without the potential for parole, emphasizing the danger Halderson posed, especially because he appeared so ‘normal’ and suffered none of the circumstances typical of murderers. The pre-sentencing report found that no underlying issues, such as substance abuse, mental illness, or childhood mistreatment, that could explain his actions or be addressed with treatment.
“No one saw this coming,” said Brown. “He was able to have these thoughts and insert himself in someone’s life without them ever knowing the danger. Part of the risk of Chandler is that he looks normal and he fooled everyone…fooled everyone into thinking that he was a safe person. Someone like him can never be safe in this community as long as he breathes he will be a risk.”
Prosecutor Andrea Raymond read two victim impact statements, one from the fiancé of Mitchell Halderson, the defendant’s older brother. She detailed the pain and loss she continues to feel, and urged the judge to sentence Chandler to life in prison without parole, claiming she and Mitchell would never feel safe if he returned to the community.
The defendant’s grandmother appealed to the judge for leniency, believing it was what his parents would have wanted.