Video and audio coverage denied in murder trial of former elementary school principal

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — No video or audio coverage will be allowed in the upcoming trial of a former elementary school principal charged with murder in her husband’s death, a judge said Thursday.

The only exception will be if there is a verdict in the trial of Leslie Chance, accused of gunning down her husband in 2013. Other than that, a still camera, pooled by the media, will be allowed in the courtroom during the proceedings.

Superior Court Judge Charles R. Brehmer said in writing the media order – copies of which were distributed to media including KGET and Dateline NBC – he weighed the public’s right to access with Rule of Court 1.150, which involves ensuring “that the fairness and dignity of the proceedings are not adversely affected.”

Any violation of the judge’s order or “with the orderly process of the court” will result in the media at fault being expelled from the proceedings, plus possible fines.

Earlier this week, Brehmer laid out a timeline for the trial, with motions in limine – in which attorneys ask the court for orders preventing or limiting the other side from presenting certain evidence –  expected to last several weeks.

Jury selection is set to begin June 24, and Brehmer said he hopes to have a jury seated by July 3. Opening statements are scheduled for July 16.

Prosecutors say Chance, 52, drove with her husband, Todd Chance, to Noriega Road, shot him then left his Ford Mustang in a southwest Bakersfield neighborhood before making her way home by taxi and on foot. 

The body of Todd Chance, 45, was found Aug. 25, 2013, off a dirt section of Noriega Road near Enos Lane. He’d suffered two gunshot wounds to the chest and one to the palm of his right hand. 

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

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