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Closing arguments are underway as the Leslie Chance retrial nears an end

Leslie Chance Trial
Posted at 12:21 PM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 12:46:11-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — After just over one month since the Leslie Chance retrial started, closing arguments began Tuesday as the trial nears its end.

Chance is accused of shooting her husband. Todd Chance, to death in an almond orchard in Northwest Bakersfield in 2013.

Closing arguments began with Prosecutor Art Norris, who reiterated the various motives Chance had to kill Todd, including an alleged affair between Todd and his ex-fiance Carrie Williams.

"She was the primary breadwinner, and she worked very hard to provide for her family. Despite that, Todd was unfaithful," Norris said.

Williams testified in the trial to a flirtation between her and Todd while he was married to Chance. She testified she and Todd exchanged nude photos and well as flirtatious messages. The prosecution alleged Chance discovered the affair and that led her to kill Todd.

"The one person on this planet who had a motive to shoot Todd was [Leslie Chance]," Norris said.

The prosecution also alleged the Chance's were having financial issues before Todd's killing. Prosecutor Andrea Kohler noting during the trial that if Todd were to die then she would have received multiple payments from life insurance polices.

Chance testified previously on the stand that she did now kill her husband, and still loves him. Chance testified she and Todd had no financial issues and that she never knew about the messages between Todd and Williams.

Defense attorney Tony Lidgett has argued that the prosecutions evidence is circumstantial, and that detectives in this case overlooked key witness testimony and left evidence untested.

"Seems like this case has been built on a number, a number of assumptions," Lidgett said as he began his closing arguments.

Lidgett ran through a series of assumptions he said the prosecution built their case on.

"Remember every time you start looking at circumstantial evidence, and one of those conclusions is reasonable and points to innocence," Lidgett told the jury, "you must adopt it."

For example, the prosecution suggested that Chance went shooting with her family in order to learn how to shoot the gun used to kill Todd. Lidgett asked the jury if it was reasonable to assume she just wanted to spend time with her family. They also suggested that Leslie attended the CSI: The Experience with the intention of gathering knowledge on committing a crime.

"It was just a trip," Lidgett said as he showcased a slideshow of photos of the family trip. Most of the photos showed Leslie and Todd smiling together and with their children.

Several witnesses and Chance herself have testified in this trial.

Chance's daughters Jessica Bullman and Samantha Chance both testified. Bullman, Chance's eldest daughter from a previous marriage, adamantly testified before the court she did not believe her mother killed Todd.

"There's always going to be a doubt, there's no way around that. The question is, is that doubt reasonable. Is it something you can really sink your teeth into?" Norris said.

Closing arguments will resume Wednesday morning at 9:15 a.m. If Chance is found guilty of first-degree murder, she could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.