Mistrial declared in Leslie Chance case, new trial date to be set, website shows

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UPDATE (4:37 p.m.): Superior Court spokeswoman Kristin Williams said the defense informed the court this morning of a conflict in the case. Judge Charles R. Brehmer then declared a mistrial, and Leslie Chance was referred to the Indigent Defense Program for appointment of a new attorney.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — In a shocking new development, a mistrial was declared Friday in the case of a former principal accused of killing her husband following a month in which attorneys went over pretrial motions and jury selection preparing for a July start date.

The reason for the mistrial is unclear. A gag order has been in effect since February and both Leslie Chance’s public defender, Paul Cadman, and District Attorney’s spokesman Joseph Kinzel declined comment.

A hearing is set for July 3 to set a new trial date.

It’s possible a new start date could be pushed back by weeks or even months. The trial was previously scheduled to begin July 16.

Chance, 52, 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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