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‘You Need to Tell the Truth’: Detectives Confront Accused Killer About His Alleged Lies in Disappearance, Death, and Dismemberment of Parents



Jurors in a Dane County murder trial watched video on Friday of two detectives confronting a murder suspect who stands accused of killing his parents and trying to cover it up.

“This is the only chance you’re going to have to tell us the truth,” Detective William Hendrickson told defendant Chandler Michael Halderson, 23, on July 8, 2021 — mere days after Halderson allegedly killed and dismembered his parents Bart Halderson, 50, and Krista Halderson, 53.

“Okay,” Halderson said. His manner was subdued through the interview. Even when confronted, he largely only sighed and squirmed in his seat.

Jurors saw footage of the encounter played Friday in courtroom in Dane County, Wisconsin, which surrounds the state capital of Madison.

Prosecutors have alleged that the defendant murdered his parents after his father discovered he was not going to college. The young man lived a life of lies, the state said in opening statements Tuesday. The defendant claimed he worked at an insurance company, worked with local rescue diving teams, and recently was hired by SpaceX — only to tragically sustain major head injuries from falling down stairs, prosecutors alleged.

It was all a fabrication, prosecutor William Brown told jurors.  Chandler Halderson was really living unemployed in his parents’ home and playing video games when he was allegedly working, Brown said. Using burner accounts, the defendant posed as life insurance company staffers and college officials in emails he forwarded to his father, the state said. He made up the SpaceX job and lied to his girlfriend that he secured a car and apartment for a move to Titusville, Fla., the prosecutor continued. The story about the fall down stairs was an escape hatch, Brown said.

Halderson claimed in media interviews that his parents left home for White Lake, Wis. for the 4th of July but never returned. Officials say he actually shot his father in the back on July 1 and also killed his mother when she returned, then discarded their body parts throughout Wisconsin.

“You need to tell the truth about what happened, and just tell us why it happened,” Hendrickson said. “If something happened, if you were defending yourself, or if you just got fed up with stuff, you need to tell us the truth. This is your chance to tell us why. I’m not BSing you.”

Halderson shook his head at the suggestion he was defending himself.

“They’re okay,” he said in response to the detective’s confrontation.

Hendrickson demanded that the defendant explain what happened. The investigator refused to tell the defendant what they believed happened.

“You know what happened,” the detective said. “We’re not going to tell you what happened. You know what happened. You were there when it happened. We’re not BSing you.”

“We know more than you think we know,” Detective Brian Shunk said. “There’s people that have told us things. We have evidence, we have proof that more has happened. So your parents never made it to the cabin, and I think you know that.”

Detectives previously focused some of their questioning on blood found at the home. Halderson had told investigators he got a cut on his foot and cleaned it with hydrogen peroxide and a Swiffer.

“I didn’t feel sick, it couldn’t have been that much,” he said of the purported blood from his foot.

He suggested blood at the scene from his parents originated from bloody noses the couple, especially Krista, suffered as a result of air conditioning. Halderson also asserted his father bled from scratching a patch of psoriasis.

“My dad scratches his psoriasis until he gushes blood,” he said when asked if there is any reason to believe that his mother and father’s blood would be in the house.

Authorities say Chandler Halderson once again engaged in elaborate lies amid the disappearances. Contrary to his claims that his parents packed lots of “booze” for the cabin, friends of the couple said they drank rarely — and if they did, it was not more than one or two drinks.

His former girlfriend Cathryn “Cat” Mellender and her mother Dulce Mellender testified about having Halderson at their property near where investigators found Bart’s torso.

Cathryn Mellender testified that Halderson asked her to bring hydrogen peroxide and a Swiffer, which investigators say he actually used to help clean up the crime scene. Prosecutors say she is innocent of any crime.

Chandler Halderson is charged with two counts each of first-degree intentional homicide, providing false information on a kidnapped or missing person, mutilating a corpse, and hiding a corpse. All of the eight charges in total are felonies.

[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]

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