New attorney appointed, retrial date set for former principal charged with murder

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Leslie Chance, the former elementary school principal charged with murder in her husband’s death, has been appointed a new attorney and a date for retrial in October.

Tony Lidgett is the new attorney for Chance, 52. He was appointed after a mistrial was declared late last month when her public defender, Paul Cadman, informed the court of a conflict in the case.

Lidgett told Superior Court Judge Judith K. Dulcich Tuesday morning that he’s spoken with prosecutor Art Norris, and they agreed to a retrial date of Oct. 21 with a readiness hearing scheduled for Oct. 11.

Dulcich confirmed the new dates. The judge allowed audio of Tuesday’s proceedings, but no video.

Chance faces life without the possibility of parole if found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Todd Chance. His body was found Aug. 25, 2013, off a dirt section of Noriega Road near Enos Lane. 

He suffered two gunshot wounds in the chest and one in the palm of his right hand, according to court documents. 

Prosecutors say Chance drove with her husband to Noriega Road. She shot him, prosecutors say, then left his Ford Mustang in a southwest Bakersfield neighborhood before making her way home by taxi and on foot. 

Principal of Fairview Elementary School at the time, Chance was initially arrested four days after the killing. She was released days later after the District Attorney’s office sent the case back to sheriff’s detectives for further investigation.

Chance was working as an administrator in the Greenfield Union School District when detectives rearrested her Dec. 1, 2016.

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