Court TV’s Chanley Painter discusses the Halderson trial

MADISON, Wis. — Tuesday was the first day in what many expect to be a three-week trial on the death of Bart and Krista Halderson. News 3 Now spoke with Chanley Painter, covering the trial for Court TV, to learn more.


Why do you think there is such national interest in this trial?

Painter: This is such an incomprehensible set of facts. What really attracts people to watch this trail is that there is a 23-year-kid, basically, who is accused of the most horrific crime … killing … murdering his parents, both of his parents, in a brutal way and then not only that, dismembering their bodies and placing pieces of their bodies all across Dane County here in Wisconsin. And the question I know for a lot of people is, “Why would a kid allegedly do such a thing?” … and so today, in opening statements, we were hearing a lot more about what the prosecution has against Chandler Halderson and maybe filling in some of those gaps a little as to why this could happen. Maybe that he told so many lies. He really spun a web of lies, according to prosecutors, leading up to the months of his parents’ murder in July of last year, that he could not go any further …

Painter: This trial here is something a lot of Court TV viewers are so into and we expect this to be a long trial. This is something the prosecutors today established a mountain of evidence against 23-year-old Chandler Halderson here, building really a timeline of events that is really quite damaging in his actions, witnesses that can pinpoint him to locations where pieces of his parents’ body parts were later discovered, where the alleged murder weapon was discovered and there’s also going to be a lot of experts involved in the coming days. Of course the medical experts, but also internet forensic experts. He made allegedly, the defendant, some damaging Google searches the day after he reported his parents missing. Also, cell phone experts, video surveillance… it’s going to be a big case for the prosecution here and we will have to see what, if anything, the defense does along the way, if they even choose to put on the case, when it does become their turn.

RELATED: Prosecutors claim Chandler Halderson killed parents after lies about college were exposed

What do you think is the number one that both the prosecutors and the defense have to do in this trial?

Painter: Well the burden here is clearly on the prosecution. You can tell from out of the gate this morning with the opening statement. It was a long, methodical opening statement from the prosecution because they have to build the blocks to build against this defendant they have the burden of here, beyond a reasonable doubt. So they were using every little piece of evidence, big and small. It’s a circumstantial case against Chandler Halderson here. Now the defense, their opening statement was significantly shorter here today and it was essentially telling the jury that he’s innocent. He did not kill his parents. And they asked the jury to keep an eye out, to keep an ear open for the … what this thing does not tell them. To not assume anything, that he’s presumed innocent and to look for the reasonable doubt in the case. They say, yes, there’s a timeline before and after, but this jury, according to the defense, will still not know, at the end of the trial, how the Halderson’s died. How they were murdered. So that was the [inaudible] of the defense opening statement. So far today, during the prosecution’s case, they aren’t really cross-examining. Many of the witnesses so far we’ll see, and will the defendant himself eventually take the witness stand … that’s always a fascinating moment in any trial.

You can watch the entire trial streaming on, Channel3000+ streaming apps and on our Channel3000 Facebook and YouTube pages.