BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — "There are always two sides to every story." That was the opening remark from defense attorney, Tony Lidgett.
Lidgett is representing 52-year-old Leslie Chance, a former Fairview Elementary School principal accused of shooting her husband, Todd Chance, in an almond orchard in Northwest Bakersfield back in 2013.
Opening statements began Monday at the Kern County Superior Courthouse. Andrea Kohler of the District Attorney office argued that Leslie Chance "prepared a very involved detailed lesson plan on how to murder Todd Chance."
According the Kohler, the murder of Todd Chance may look like a crime for money, but that's not the case. Kohler argued that Todd had "rekindled" a romance with his high school sweetheart.
Andrea Kohler says money was not the reason for Todd Chance's murder. She said Todd had rekindled a romance with his high school sweetheart. #CHANCERETRIAL— 23ABC News (@23ABCNews) December 9, 2019
This was the first time we were introduced to Carrie Williams.
Williams, according to Kholer, was actively present in Todd's life. Kohler said they would see each other at social gatherings often. Kohler said that some point, the woman sent multiple nude photos of herself to Todd's phone.
Prosecutors say Williams sent explicit nude photos of her body to Todd Chance and they had an ongoing relationship through cellphone text messages which may be shown later in the trial.
Kohler went through a timeline of events from the day Todd's body was found. She said Todd's vehicle, a black Ford Mustang, was seen by witnesses and surveillance video traveling that morning with a woman inside. That woman, Kohler argued, witnesses identified as Leslie.
Kohler says we will hear from a witness very familiar with Leslie Chance. Kohler says when this witness was shown the surveillance video from the morning of Aug. 25, 2013, they positively identified Leslie Chance. #CHANCERETRIAL— 23ABC News (@23ABCNews) December 9, 2019
Picture evidence was aslo shown, depicting the Chance family at a Las Vegas CSI Experience event. According to Kohler, Chance went through a crime scene scenario where a wife kills an ex-husband and leaves him in a rural area. Other crime scene tips from the event included how to use bleach to wipe away evidence.
The next big reveal came when Kohler shared that, according to court documents, Chance was allegedly against guns but suddenly became interested in shooting. She event went with her family to practice shooting a .38 caliber revolver, the same type of gun that prosecutors say was used to kill Todd.
Kohler said that during this trial, the jury will watch surveillance video of multiple areas around the crime scene from the morning of the murder. She also said that witnesses will testify the person seen on those surveillance videos is Leslie.
Defense attorney Lidgett, however, said that he will bring witnesses, including Chance's daughter and Todd Chance's father, who said they could not identify Leslie from the surveillance videos.
Lidgett says that witnesses, including Leslie's daughters and Todd's father, could not identify Leslie as the person in the surveillance videos. #CHANCERETRIAL— 23ABC News (@23ABCNews) December 9, 2019
Lidgett argued that when Leslie was first arrested and questioned, it was as though investigators had already made up their mind.
"It went good cop, bad cop, to bad cop, bad cop," said Lidgett.
Lidgett also said that the 911 tapes from the day the body was found and from the time that Todd's Mustang was found, were both destroyed. "In fact, all 911 calls have been destroyed," stated Lidgett.
"In fact, all 911 calls have been destroyed," said Lidgett. #CHANCERETRIAL— 23ABC News (@23ABCNews) December 9, 2019
Lidgett told the jury that DNA testing was also never done for this case. He plead for the jury to "keep in mind" reasonable doubt and pay attention to the facts.
Chance’s first trial in June ended in a mistrial when the Public Defender’s office declared a conflict of interest in representing her. She faces life without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder.