Friends and ex-girlfriend of Chandler Halderson testify to lies about a gun and scuba diving | State and Region
Chandler Halderson allegedly hid the gun used to kill his father in his family’s home weeks before prosecutors said he killed and dismembered his parents, a friend of Halderson’s testified in court on Tuesday.
Chandler’s friends and former girlfriend appeared in court to testify about the alleged murder weapon and the lies he told about scuba diving for the Madison Police Department after a delay in a week into the trial after the 23-year-old Windsor man tested positive for COVID-19.
Andrew Smith, a Kansan and former member of the U.S. military who met Chandler while playing online video games, testified that he gave Chandler the pistol, an SKS rifle and nearly 500 rounds as gifts during his visit to the Halderson home last June. Smith documented the gun swap by taking a photo of Chandler’s ID next to the rifle’s serial number before Chandler hid the gun in an office in the family’s basement.
“His parents understood why guns exist in this world, not that they necessarily support owning them,” Smith said. “I understood that maybe they weren’t happy to have this gun.”
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The gun was later found by investigators in a town on the Cottage Grove property where Bart Halderson’s torso had been dumped. Later that afternoon, a Wisconsin State Crime Lab firearms examiner said a bullet fragment found in the basement of the Halderson home was fired from the rifle.
Smith said he stayed at the Halderson home for two days just weeks before Chandler’s parents, Bart and Krista, died. Prior to Chandler’s arrest, Smith said he received a “not hysterical” but “upsetting” call from Halderson about his parents’ disappearance. Smith contacted authorities once he learned that Chandler had been arrested.
Smith’s testimony became slightly strained when Halderson’s attorney, Catherine Dorl, asked him how many guns he had sold, to which he replied “it’s frankly none of your business”.
Following Smith’s testimony, jurors heard from a former roommate, Alex Gravatt, and a former girlfriend, Dakotah Brown, who said Chandler told them he was doing search and rescue scuba diving missions for the Madison Police Department. No such unit exists with the Madison Police Department.
Prosecutors said her parents uncovered such lies as a possible motive for Halderson murdering Bart, 50, and Krista, 53, at the Windsor home they shared on July 1. marking an upcoming position with SpaceX in Florida. In reality, prosecutors say Halderson was unemployed and dropped out of school.
After allegedly killing her parents, prosecutors said Chandler attempted to burn their bodies in a family fireplace before scattering them across southern Wisconsin. Chandler faces criminal charges for murder, mutilation and concealment of corpses and lying to investigators.
Later testimony from Wisconsin State Crime Lab staff revealed that Chandler’s fingerprints matched prints on duct tape attached to a tarp found on the property in the town of Cottage Grove where investigators recovered his father’s torso. .
A suitable tool
In morning testimony, a forensic anthropologist with the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office said two saws found by investigators matched cuts from the dismembered torso of Bart Halderson and the dismembered legs of his wife Krista.
Cristina Figueroa Soto said the alloy saw and hacksaw found on a property linked to Chandler’s former girlfriend were compatible with Bart and Krista’s bone cuts. An examination of false starts when cutting into bone can reveal the number of teeth on a particular blade, Soto said. She couldn’t say for sure that the saws and cuts matched perfectly.
“I won’t be able to say, ‘Yes, that’s the tool that was used,'” she said. “But all the characteristics of this part of the individual were again consistent with the characteristics of these two tools that were found at the scene.”
The alloy saw and hacksaw analyzed by Soto were found inside an old oil tank on the Cottage Grove town homestead of Cresent L’Sai, L’Sai’s mother’s partner. another former girlfriend of Chandler. Bart Halderson’s torso was also found on the property, along with the bloody tarp and rifle.
Toward the end of Soto’s morning testimony, she described how bone fragments were found in the Halderson home’s vacuum cleaner and in the family fireplace. More than 200 bone fragments, including skull bones and teeth, were recovered from the fireplace and its grate, matching prosecutors’ argument that Chandler burned his parents’ heads in the fireplace . Chop marks consistent with a machete or ax were also found on part of a wrist bone in the Halderson fireplace.
Before Soto’s testimony, jurors saw photos of Krista Halderson’s dismembered legs, which were found in a Sauk County field by investigators in July.
Dane County Medical Examiner Dr Agnieszka Rogalska said Krista Halderson’s recovered legs were consistent with having been sawn off, despite being in various stages of decomposition.
“There seemed to be some sort of steps in the bone,” Rogalska said. “It corresponds to a forceful injury which can saw, cut, but again, we have movement. … It’s not just cut clean.
Since no bleeding was found in Krista’s legs, Rogalska determined that Krista was dead at the time she was dismembered. The precise cause of death is unknown, although it was ruled a homicide.
“I’m not sure what injury caused Krista Halderson’s death, but I believe she died as a result of some violence,” the medical examiner said.
Halderson’s trial was suspended last Tuesday after he was one of 81 Dane County Jail inmates to test positive for COVID-19 after the National Guard tested the entire population prison. The prison, where Halderson has been held since July, has seen a record number of virus cases in recent weeks.
Circuit Judge John Hyland, who is presiding over the case, had to dismiss a juror on Tuesday due to a positive COVID-19 test.