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Todd Chance died in 'less than 10 minutes,' according to forensic pathologist

The forensic pathologist who performed Todd Chance's autopsy testified in day eight of the Leslie Chance trial
Posted at 4:48 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 20:18:28-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Todd Chance was shot twice on Aug. 25, 2013. Once through his hand into his chest and a second time through the chest again. It took him less than 10 minutes to die, according to Dr. Robert Whitmore, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy in 2013.

Dr. Whitmore took the witness stand Wednesday to testify in the Leslie Chance trial. Leslie is suspected of killing her husband and dumping his body in an almond orchard off of Enos Lane and Noriega Road. If convicted, she could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Dr. Whitmore testified to the manner of Todd's death. He said that his examination of the body showed Todd was shot from only inches away and that either shot would have been deadly.

"I can't say it was a contact, because I don't have enough information," said Whitmore, "but I can say that it was very close."

The prosecution asked Dr. Whitmore about the trajectory of the bullets that killed Todd. Dr. Whitmore demonstrated on himself how he believed the bullets entered Todd's chest and traveled through his body.

Todd had his hand up in a defensive position, according to Dr. Whitmore, when one shot was fired. The bullet went through his right palm and into the right side of his chest. From there, the bullet traveled across is chest and damaged multiple organs.

The second bullet, Dr. Whitmore testified, entered Todd's chest at a downward trajectory and damaged his liver.

From these trajectories, Dr. Whitmore said he believed the shooter was standing in front of Todd and "probably off to the right."

Detective Brewer testified earlier in this trial that they had a theory Todd was shot inside his Ford Mustang.

Defense attorney Tony Lidgett attempted to suggest that it was not possible for Todd to sustain those injuries if he were in the driver's seat and the shooter was sitting in the passenger seat.

Dr. Whitmore did not directly answer Lidgett's question, but reiterated that the trajectory suggested the shooter was in front of Todd at a close distance.

He also testified that there was no way for him to determine if Todd was standing or sitting.

Jessica Bullman, Leslie Chance's oldest daughter, also continued her testimony Wednesday.

Bullman testified on Tuesday that she felt misled by detectives in 2016 when they had her view surveillance video from the Walmart on Panama Lane. She said when she identified her mother in the videos, she was unaware that one of the videos was from a date 16 days before Todd's death.

On Wednesday, the prosecution asked Bullman if she ever, in the years since that 2016 interview, contacted detectives about her concerns regarding the statement she gave that day.

Bullman said she never did.

The trial will resume Thursday at 9:30 a.m. On Thursday and Friday, the jury will be taken on a walk-through of the areas named in this trial. Media will not be allowed.

The trial will go on break from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2.