Todd Chance was found dead in an almond orchard in Bakersfield, California, on August 25, 2013, having been shot twice in the chest. Todd Chance’s vehicle was found 15 miles away, abandoned. His wife, Leslie “Jenea” Chance, was arrested a few days later on suspicion of murder, Bakersfield Now reported.
At the time of her arrest, Leslie Chance was the well-liked principal of Fairview Elementary School and had worked for the school district for 16 years. A few days later, she was released and it wasn’t until three years later, in 2016, that she was arrested again and charged with first-degree murder, the outlet reported. At the time, a spokesperson with the sheriff’s office said, “The investigation was extensive we looked at every angle we reviewed documents. We even received help from the FBI.”
The delays in the case weren’t over yet, however, as Chance’s first trial ended in a mistrial because of a conflict of interest with the former principal’s public defender, Bakersfield Now wrote. In December 2019, her second trial for first-degree murder began in earnest and a guilty verdict was returned on January 30, 2020, several years after Todd Chance’s death.
Where is Leslie Chance today? Is she in prison?
Chance’s Trial Took Place in 2020 & She Was Recently Sentenced to 50 Years to Life in Prison
On September 16, 2020, Chance was sentenced to 50 years to life for the first-degree murder of her husband, 45-year-old Todd Chance, back in 2013. She had been found guilty by the jury in January but the sentencing was delayed because of the coronavirus and motions filed by Chance’s attorney for a new trial, 23ABC reported.
Chance is serving her sentence at the Central California Women’s Facility, where she was admitted on October 16, 2020, public records show. The 53-year-old will not be eligible for parole until November 2041. The Central California Women’s Facility is the largest female facility in California and it’s located in Chowchilla, Madera County, southeast of San Jose.
Ever since Chance was found guilty, her attorney Tony Lidgett has been trying to get his client a new trial, 23ABC reported. According to the outlet, Lidgett filed motions in March for a new trial based on juror misconduct and saying there was a failure to read all the jury instructions. The motions were dismissed by Judge Charles R. Brehmer, however.
Her Sentencing Was Delayed Due to an Unspecified Medical Emergency Which Saw Chance Taken to the Hospital
In September of this year, just before Chance’s scheduled sentencing, she was taken to the hospital for an “undisclosed medical emergency,” the Kern County Sheriff’s Office reported to The Bakersfield Californian. The sheriff’s office did not provide more details about the former school principal’s medical emergency but said she was “alive and is going to survive,” the outlet wrote.
KGET added in their reporting that the sheriff’s office refused to comment on whether Chance’s medical emergency resulted from a suicide attempt, which had been the rumor circulating among Todd Chance’s family and friends, according to Facebook posts. There has been no further news about her current medical condition, although she was transferred from the jail to the Central California Women’s Facility after her sentencing.