Man kills parents who discovered he faked SpaceX job offer
A Wisconsin man accused of spinning an “amazing web of lies,” including a job offer from Elon Musk’s aerospace firm, has been found guilty of all charges by a jury and now faces a life sentence.
The verdict against 23-year-old Chandler Halderson was handed down on Thursday in Dane County Circuit Court in Madison, Wisconsin. He was convicted on two counts each of first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse, hiding a corpse, and making a false report to police.
Halderson was charged with killing and dismembering his parents – Bart and Krista Halderson, 50 and 53 – last year. He had reported them missing on July 7, saying they hadn’t returned home from a weekend trip to their vacation cabin.
Prosecutors said the violence started after the Haldersons discovered that their son had lied about various aspects of his life, including false claims that he was attending college, working at an insurance company, and considering a lucrative offer to join SpaceX.
He allegedly tried to make his supposed achievements appear real by creating false emails, including correspondence with the college he claimed to attend and the insurance firm where he claimed to work. However, his father became suspicious because Chandler was constantly short of cash.
Bart Halderson then posed as his son during a telephone call with the college, which verified that Chandler wasn’t enrolled. After he told his son that he had arranged a meeting for them with officials at the college, Chandler Halderson shot him in the back, prosecutors said. A few hours later, he shot his mother as well.
According to prosecutors, Chandler allegedly dismembered and burned the bodies, then buried them in separate locations over the next few days. A day after Chandler told police that his parents were missing, investigators found Bart Halderson’s torso on a rural property. Krista’s remains were found about a week later.
In closing arguments, defense lawyer Crystal Vera conceded that Chandler Halderson had “told a lot of lies,” but she said getting caught wouldn’t constitute an adequate motive for murder.
“You were never told that they were going to kick him out of the house,” she said. “You were never told that they were going to disown him. You were never told anything about why it matters. If this is going to be motive, if this is the reason you’re intentionally killing someone, it better matter.”