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First set of witnesses called to testify in Leslie Chance trial

There were six people who testified as witnesses today, including two orchard workers who found Todd Chance's body, KCSO deputies, a KCFD fire captain and a former corner's investigator.
Posted at 5:10 PM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 12:04:01-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The first set of witnesses testified Monday afternoon in the Leslie Chance trial.

First called to the stand was the orchard worker who found Todd Chance's body back in 2013.

There were some difficulties during the questioning process, as the witness was Spanish-speaking and needed a translator.

Marco Vieyra said it was a normal morning back on August 25, 2013, when he arrived to work. He said he arrived sometime between 6 to 6:30 a.m. and saw nothing out of the ordinary.

It wasn't until around 9 to 9:30 a.m., when he returned to the almond orchards, the he found Todd's body.

Vieyra said he did not touch or move the body. He also testified that he did not hear any loud sounds at the time, including any gunshots or car noises.

After Vieyra found the body, he testified he called his supervisor, Adrian Barboza, who then went to check out the scene. Vieyra testified that it was Barboza who called 911, but then later testified that he never actually saw or heard Barboza call anyone.

Barboza was next to testify. He also used a Spanish language translator.

When Barboza arrived at the scene where the body was found, he testified he also did not hear any loud noises nor touch the body in any way.

Barboza testified that he in-fact was not the one to call 911 that morning. Instead, after Vieyra called him about the body, Barboza called his supervisor. Barboza said his supervisor then called 911.

Melissa Costamagana is a former investigator for the Kern County Coroner's Office. At the time, it was her job to not only investigate the scene where the body was found, but also notify the next of kin.

That was Leslie Chance.

Costamagana said that she has had to deliver "hundreds" of death notifications during her time with the coroner's office, but when she told Chance about her husband's death, something didn't sit right.

She testified that although Chance cried upon hearing of her husband's death, it was not a "usual reaction," stating there weren't as many tears as she expected.

Costamagana also testified that Chance paced back and forth, mumbling that she "knew something was wrong," which struck Costamagana as odd.

When asked about how often she'd seen a family react this way to a death notification, Costamagana testified that she could "count them on one hand."

Along with the two almond orchard workers and the coroner's investigator, members of the Kern County Sheriff's Office testified.

Senior Deputy Mitch Adams and Deputy Robert Kruse both testified to the scene and evidence noted on Aug. 25, 2013.

Adams testified that he was in charge of photographing the shoe prints for the emergency teams, as well as law enforcement and the witnesses. This was to eliminate responding parties as suspects.

When asked about the scene. Adams testified that he did not notice a blood trail or drag marks near the body. He did however find a cell phone about 30 feet away from the body. Prosecutors entered the phone into evidence.

Kern County Fire Captain Shawn Pattison was also called to testify about his experience responding to the scene. He testified that he and his team where the first to arrive. When they found Todd's body, they lifted his shirt to see the bleeding and noted that he wasn't breathing.

The trial will continue tomorrow at 9 a.m. where detectives for this case are expected to testify.