Sentencing pushed back to August for convicted murderer Leslie Chance

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The sentencing for former school principal Leslie Chance, convicted of murder in the shooting death of her husband, has been postponed to late August to allow attorneys time to file motions and conduct investigations regarding alleged juror misconduct in the case.

Chance, 53, was found guilty in January of first-degree murder in the killing of Todd Chance, 45. Her sentencing has been postponed multiple times due to an illness she suffered as well as concerns of holding the hearing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Her attorney, Tony Lidgett, has filed a motion for a new trial arguing multiple incidents of alleged juror misconduct.

On Wednesday, Judge Charles R. Brehmer said the contact information for four of the jurors in the case will be released for attorneys to interview them about the allegations. The eight other jurors have objected to releasing their contact information.

Brehmer said a decision on whether to release the remaining jurors’ information will be made after attorneys have interviewed the four jurors.

Additionally, Lidgett is trying to contact a sheriff’s investigator who interviewed three people across the street from where Todd Chance’s Ford Mustang was found abandoned. No reports were filed regarding those interviews, and Lidgett is attempting to track down any notes taken by the investigator and is searching for those witnesses.

Several dates were set for the prosecution and defense to file motions, and the sentencing hearing rescheduled for Aug. 26. Leslie Chance faces up to 50 years to life in prison.

Prosecutors Andrea Kohler and Art Norris have said Leslie Chance planned and carried out the Aug. 25, 2013, killing of her husband after discovering flirtatious text messages between him and a former girlfriend. She shot him twice in the chest and left his body in an almond orchard near Highway 43 and Noriega Road.

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.

Prosecutors have said the evidence in the case points to Leslie Chance, and to her alone, as the person who gunned down her husband.

Leslie Chance was principal of Fairview Elementary School at the time of the killing.

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