BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A motion for a new trial in the case of a former elementary school principal convicted of killing her husband should not be granted because the defense has failed to provide sufficient evidence of juror misconduct, prosecutors said this week in a court filing.
Prosecutor Andrea Kohler said in the document filed on Wednesday that she has spoken to four of the jurors who found Leslie Chance guilty of murder in the death of her husband, and they rebut statements made by the foreperson alleging there was juror misconduct during the trial. Kohler said she has been unable to speak with the foreperson despite numerous attempts to reach her.
“There is no evidence of juror misconduct and the People submit the allegations made by (the foreperson) have been discredited by the four juror affidavits submitted,” Kohler said in the filing.
Chance’s attorney, Tony Lidgett, has argued the foreperson reported incidents of alleged misconduct including one juror deliberating alone and another reading over the court reporter’s shoulder during readback and viewing information about discussions that occurred in the judge’s chambers. She also alleged there was bullying during the deliberations, Lidgett said.
A hearing on the motions is scheduled for Aug. 26.
Chance, 53, was found guilty of first-degree murder in January in the shooting death of her husband, Todd Chance. Prosecutors said she planned and carried out the killing in 2013 after discovering flirtatious text messages between him and a former girlfriend.
After shooting him, prosecutors said, Leslie Chance abandoned her husband’s Mustang in a southwest Bakersfield neighborhood and made her way home by taxi and walking. She later tried to collect on hundreds of thousands of dollars in life insurance policies.
Lidgett has said the evidence against his client was flimsy and argued the prosecution’s case was built entirely on unreliable, circumstantial evidence. Kohler said in the court filing the evidence supporting the murder conviction was “overwhelming.”
Leslice Chance was principal of Fairview Elementary School at the time of the killing.