Will Chandler Halderson be given the possibility of parole?

MADISON, Wis. — As Chandler Halderson prepares to walk into his sentencing hearing Thursday afternoon, he knows a mandatory life sentence will be waiting for him. The only question is if he will ever be eligible to ask for parole.

Legal experts say the question usually comes down to three factors: the gravity of the offense, the character of the offender, and the need to protect the public.

Local defense attorney Jessa Nicholson Goetz, who is not affiliated with the Halderson case, says based on those factors, she could see Judge John Hyland go either way on the question of Halderson’s parole eligibility.

“His youth will cut for him. He had a trial, that tends to cut against taking responsibility,” Nicholson Goetz said. “Most judges don’t necessarily punish someone more harshly for having a trial, but it is a factor in the demonstration of remorse, and that’s something that courts look for.”

The judge will also weigh statements from victims of the crime and other people affected by the deaths of Bart and Krista Halderson. Chandler Halderson will also have the opportunity to speak before the sentence is handed down on Thursday if he chooses to do so.

Nicholson Goetz says it is important to remember that even if Halderson is granted the possibility of parole, it does not mean he will necessarily get it.

“Just being eligible to apply for extended supervision release does not guarantee that someone would actually ever get it,” Nicholson Goetz said. “It would go to a board, they would have to review, it would go to a hearing, so making someone eligible at some point in time isn’t the same thing as giving them an ‘out date.'”

What happens on Thursday is ultimately up to Judge John Hyland, someone Nicholson Goetz knows well.

“I find him to be a very even-handed judge,” she said. “I’ve seen him sentence a number of young people, it would not surprise me to if he did give an eligibility date.”

You can watch the sentencing hearing live on Channel3000.com, Channel3000+ streaming apps, and the Channel3000 YouTube and Facebook pages starting at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.