Former school principal Leslie Chance sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for husband’s murder

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Leslie Chance, a former school principal convicted earlier this year of murdering her husband, was sentenced in Kern County Superior Court today to 25 years to life in prison plus another 25 years to life for a gun enhancement.

A motion by the defense to strike the gun enhancement was denied by Judge Charles R. Brehmer. Motions for a new trial were also denied in August by Brehmer, who said he found no credible evidence of juror misconduct and stands by rulings he made during trial regarding evidence that was not timely presented to the jury. 

“Leslie Chance carefully premeditated and successfully executed a plan to kill her husband of 17 years. However, Chance was not successful in avoiding the ramifications of the criminal justice system,” said District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer. “This horrific crime took the life of a beloved father and son. Judge Brehmer said it best in passing sentence — ‘No one has won, but justice has been served.’”

Tony Lidgett, Chance’s attorney, argued at trial the evidence against his client was built on unreliable, circumstantial evidence, and that his client had nothing to do with her husband’s death.

Chance, 53, was found guilty in January of first-degree murder in the killing of 45-year-old Todd Chance. She 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. Chance was principal of Fairview Elementary School at the time of the shooting.

“It is hard to imagine how Todd Chance must have felt that morning when his wife of 17 years pulled out a firearm and shot Todd at point-blank range,” Assistant District Attorney Andrea Kohler said at the sentencing.

Prosecutors during trial said Chance learned how to cover her tracks at a CSI Exhibit in Las Vegas, two months before Todd Chance was killed.

The defense said Chance was home at the time of her husband’s killing, but prosecutors said the gun used to kill Todd Chance was missing when they questioned her on Aug. 25, 2013.

Among other evidence, prosecutors said surveillance video showed Chance walking back to her home the morning of Todd Chance’s death. She denied leaving the house that morning

All three of Chance’s daughters testified it wasn’t her in the videos, but others said they recognized her.

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