BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — For six years, DNA evidence that could hold the answer to who killed Todd Chance has gone untested.
Chance was found shot to death in an almond orchard in Northwest Bakersfield on Aug. 25, 2013. His wife, Leslie Chance, is on trial for his killing. The lead investigators at the time, Senior Deputy Kavin Brewer and Sergeant Kevin Kimmel, testified for several hours Tuesday.
During Brewer's testimony, defense attorney Tony Lidgett questioned Brewer about evidence collected at the District Attorney's Crime Lab, including swabs taken from inside the Ford Mustang. Brewer testified that it was just "within the last two weeks" that he had taken those swabs to the lab to be tested.
"You honestly didn't expect DNA to be found inside that mustang?" asked Lidgett.
Brewers explained that back in 2013, the crime lab called to tell them the results of DNA testing from a Bluestar Exam. When they told Kimmel the results came back negative, Brewer testified that Kimmel and he interpreted that to mean the lab tested all the evidence and found no DNA.
"So that's why when you were told that it came back negative for DNA," Lidgett asked, "you did not follow up?"
Brewer responded "that's correct, and that's my mistake."
They were wrong.
Evidence taken from the Mustang went untested.
That is until a few days ago.
Brewer testified that within the last two weeks, he personally took the swabs to be tested.
During his cross-examination of Brewer, Lidgett entered several photos of the Mustang into evidence. He also pointed out that several witnesses, including Todd's family, said he was "very meticulous" about his car and that any dirt or trace evidence found in the car could be connected to Todd's death.
While Lidgett cross-examined Brewer, he asked if there were any bullet holes found in the Mustang. Brewer testified there weren't. Lidgett asked if Brewer thought Todd had been killed inside the Mustang. Brewer said he did.
"Would they have enough time to clean the entire car with bleach wipes in 15 minutes?" asked Lidgett.
Brewer responded that he believed they could.
Kimmel also taking the stand Tuesday, testifying to his experience informing Leslie and her family about Todd's death.
On top of testimony, prosecutor Arthur Norris played a recording of the Kimmel secretly took. Kimmel said this was the first time he ever recorded a death notification.
"It was just an odd notification," said Kimmel, "I can't place one thing about it."
Kimmel also testified that they did not test Leslie's hands for gunshot residue.
As well as Kimmel and Brewer, Martha Medina began her testimony Tuesday. She was the witness who notified law enforcement to the Mustang on the corner of Wheatland Avenue and Tigerflower Drive in Southwest Bakersfield.
Medina only testified for abour 40 minutes before the court ended their session for today. She will continue her testimony tomorrow.
The trial will continue at 10:30 a.m.