NewsLeslie Chance Trial


Leslie Chance's eldest daughter called as a hostile witness for the prosecution

Jessica Bullman, the daughter of Leslie Chance and step-daughter of Todd Chance, was called to testify in week two of the Leslie Chance trial
Posted at 5:57 PM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 15:37:48-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — "He was my favorite person...She was my best friend," testified Jessica Bullman in the Leslie Chance trial Monday.

Bullman is the eldest daughter of Leslie and step-daughter of Todd Chance. Although he was not her biological father, Bullman testified that Chance was more a father-figure to her than anyone else.

The prosecution called Bullman to the stand to testify as a hostile witness.

Bullman burst into tears when she took the stand, unable to even speak for the first several minutes. Leslie, sitting from the defense table, began to cry as well at the sight of her oldest daughter.

When the prosecution asked how Bullman felt, all she could mutter was "cringe-worthy."

The prosecution played a recording of Bullman being interviewed in 2016, after her mother was arrested for Todd's killing. In the recording Bullman can be seen and heard crying. The prosecution said this interview was the first time Bullman is shown the surveillance videos related to this case.

"At the time, I was so upset I didn't want to talk to the detectives," said Bullman when asked why she never tried to go view the videos, "I just thought they already had their minds made up and no matter what I said they were just going to twist it."

She also testified that she wanted to wait until her sisters were older, out of fear the she would see her mother on the tapes.

"That's what everyone was telling me, that it was her," she testified.

Prosecutor Andrea Kohler asked about Bullman's identification of Leslie from the surveillance video. Bullman testifying that although she did identify her mother in one Walmart video, detectives never informed her that the video was dated weeks earlier than all the other surveillance videos.

"So when they asked me if it was her in all the videos I remember saying 'I guess,'" testified Bullman.

Kohler aslo asked Bullman about the Starbucks surveillance video where the suspect was seen entering with a red backpack. Kohler suggested that Bullman asked detectives to stop the video because she recognized her mother. Bullman, however, corrected Kohler and said she recognized the backpack.

The prosecution also asked Bullman about Leslie's behavior the days following Todd's death. Bullman testified that her mother's behavior did seem unusual at times. She specifically testified about a phone call with Todd's boss in which Leslie discussed returning Todd's belongings.

The prosecution also called retired Bakersfield Police Sergeant William Darbee. Darbee testified that he had known Leslie for around 30 years and his sister was married to Leslie's brother.

"Going into it, I didn't want it to be [Leslie]," testified Darbee.

Darbee testified that when officers showed him surveillance videos of the suspect he thought it might be Leslie, but was not completely certain. He said his experience in law enforcement has made him weary of his certainty.

The defense asked Darbee about his experience with Leslie immediately following Todd's death. Darbee testified that from the standpoint of a brother-in-law nothing seemed unusual, but as a detective he noticed a "lack of emotion."

Technical Investigator Adam Rickels and Deputy Steve Alvidrez were also called to testify on Monday. Rickels walked through the crime scene photos he took at the almond orchard. Alvidrez worked as a school police officer at Fairview Elementary while Leslie was principal.

Alvidrez testified that he was able to identify Leslie from surveillance videos because he has watched her run and walk around the school campus.

Defense attorney Tony Lidgett questioning Alvidrez's ability to pick out Leslie based on her movements.

"She had a very specific way she would walk and her hips would shift in a certain way, and it was kind of like a waddle," testified Alvidrez.

Lidgett asked how many interaction Alvidrez had with Leslie while they worked together. Alvidrez testified it was over 100, but Lidgett followed-up by asking if it was more like four times.

Neighbors were also called to testify. Officer Tiffany Salazar and her friend Sabrina Bonilla were in next door to the Chance's on the morning of Todd's death.

Bonilla testified she saw Todd's black Ford Mustang pull out of the drive way with a male driver and a woman in the passenger seat wearing a hat and large sunglasses.

Prosecution also brought in Brook Westcott, the owner of Data Ticket, a business that processes parking tickets. She testified to a parking ticket that was given to a Carrie Williams from the Orange County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 25, 2013.

The defense pointed out that even though this ticket was given on Aug. 25, there was no way of proving how long that vehicle had been parked in the area.