BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Convicted killer and former elementary school principal Leslie Chance was sentenced to 50 years to life for the shooting death of her husband in 2013.
Chance, 53, was found guilty in January of first-degree murder in the killing of Todd Chance, 45. Her sentencing has been postponed for months due to the coronavirus, allegations of illness, and motions for a new trial.
During the sentencing, Chance's daughter Jessica Bullman addressed the court. Bullman spoke about how much she loved Todd Chance and considered Todd her true father. She also stated her mother is innocent and she will never give up on her.
Todd was found shot twice in an almond orchard off of Enos Lane and Noriega Road in Northwest Bakersfield back on Aug. 25, 2013. Prosecutors said after the shooting Leslie Chance drove and abandoned her husband’s Mustang in a Southwest Bakersfield neighborhood and made her way home by taxi and walking.
During the trial, prosecutors said Chance killed her husband because of an alleged affair and for financial reasons. They argued the couple was spending far beyond their means and that if Chance killed Todd, she would receive thousands in life-insurance. However, the jury did not find Chance guilty for financial motivation.
Diana Chance, Todd’s mother, also spoke during the sentencing. She read an emotional statement to the courtroom, mentioning memories of Todd and thanking the jury for their verdict.
Chance's defense attorney Tony Lidgett said he was shocked when Chance was found guilty and has tried to get a new trial ever since. Lidgett filed the motions back in March, arguing juror misconduct. Lidgett argued for a new trial based on failure to read all jury instructions. Judge Charles R. Brehmer ultimately dismissed both motions.
Judge Brehmer sentenced Chance to 25 years to life for the murder and denied Chance’s motion to dismiss the firearms enhancement, which added an additional 25 year to life.
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