Point BlankDateline NBC
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- 25 Nov 2020
After Todd Chance is murdered, police follow a trail of video evidence as they work to track down the killer. Andrea Canning speaks exclusively with Todd’s wife, elementary school principal Jenea Chance. Andrea Canning reports.
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I'm Lester Holt. Tonight on an all new dateline, we have found her husband murdered and his body was in a field. They said that he had been shot. It was unbelievable. I couldn't comprehend.
I remember telling my mom, like, I'm going to get you through this. And she looked me in the eyes and said, Jessica, how am I supposed to get through the rest of my life? What do you find in his phone? Private pictures sent to him. Were they his wife? They were not his wife. I was not the kind of wife that went through my husband's phone. Did you think that maybe this other woman on Todd's phone might have had something to do with this murder?
We don't rule anyone out. We begin to get Daddio from several different locations, we see someone say clothing, the glasses, the hat going from place to place, they started asking me a lot of questions. Do you recognize the gate yet? Recognize the way she's walking? I'm kind of peeking through what's going on. Whoever this woman is has had this merger planned and very well planned. It came as a shock, complete shock. Here is Andrea Canning with Point Blank.
Look carefully and ask yourself whether you can trust your own eyes.
Is this video of a man or a woman a murderer?
Did you think that was the killer in the video? I don't know.
Is it the same person here and here and here or not?
Hard to say. And yet everything hinged so much on these videos, correct.
Everything included a murder trial with a jury that would be years in the making and a mystery that began with a body in an almond grove just west of Bakersfield, California.
Farm workers have found the body of Todd Chance in this almond orchard the morning of August 25th.
The year was 2013. Todd Chance was 45. His wife, Janay, an elementary school principal, said looking back, nothing stood out about that ordinary Sunday morning, August 25th.
How did the day start out? It was a typical day that was after the first week of school and I was working on my school safe plan. I had gotten up early that morning, came downstairs, and I was surprised to hear tot up. And he just said that him and his dad were going to go to the gun show when he walked out the door.
I just said later that was around seven thirty or eight. Jenny said she turned back to her work and said at some point her two teenage daughters, Sara, then 15, and Samantha, then 13, came downstairs.
I was doing laundry and I had a delivery coming in between 10 and 12 that day. The girls were down. We all put the groceries up together.
Later, Jenny's oldest daughter from her first marriage, Jessica stopped by to pick up some old furniture. Jessica was there when detectives arrived. They had pulled up and I looked at my mom and she was just like, Jessica, wait here, because we all three were outside by my car. So I had them stay outside with me. And I remember thinking that that's not normal.
You have a difficult notification to make. Yes, we do. Kern County homicide detective Kevin Brewer headed from the almond grove to the Chance House with me and my partner, pulled up to the residence.
Mrs. Chance was outside. We asked her to come inside. I had her sit down on a couch. I totally assumed it was a car accident.
But the detective told her Todd's death was no accident.
They said that he had been shot and that he had been left shot twice in the chest at point blank range. Jenny's husband of 17 years had been murdered.
That is a shocking piece of news. It was unbelievable. I couldn't comprehend why would anyone want to kill him? That that must have been immediately going through your mind. Right.
He was such a likeable guy. He didn't hang out with a rough crowd. You know, he wasn't into drugs. He wasn't into gambling. It's very baffling.
Soon, her daughters heard the awful news to Jessica was just crying the whole time, and my mom was just she was shocked.
It was a murder investigation. The clock was ticking and the detectives needed information. Shocker. Not Johnny had to help.
Isn't that correct?
I want to thank you, but to name one of the detectives recorded the conversation as they asked Johnny what Todd had been planning that day for 30 days this morning.
She said Todd told her he was going to pick up his dad on the way to the gun show in town. So folks are arriving soon. Todd's parents, Travis and Diana, arrived.
I was there for the first time. Mean, heard you got officers with badges and guns saying all of this and you're looking around at the people in the house and in the back of your mind, you're thinking this can't be true. This is a dream.
Detectives had questions for them to trying to establish a timeline.
They soon noticed something wasn't right, the last few for both of them. So I was talking to Dave.
Travis hadn't talked with his son that morning about the gun show and there was something else, Todd's body was found west of town, the opposite direction from the gun show.
I have to tell them that that may not be the best place to be in that area.
In other words, maybe whoever killed Todd brought him there.
Detectives didn't have a lot to go on at this point, so they kept asking questions.
We know Todd was a gun lover. Did you check his guns to see if any of them were missing? Just on a hunch.
We did. My partner asked today if there were any guns missing from the house and if she could go check. And she told us she was she was sure they were all there. And he asked her again, just please go check.
And she finally came back and told us that one of the revolvers was missing, that one of them, and that is the gate to the border.
Initially, I thought he might have taken the gun with him just for protection or he may have taken it to the gun show to trade it. That's common or sell it.
But there's no gun found with his body, correct? That's correct. No gun found with his body. So this gun is now missing? Yes, it is.
A man who seemed to have no enemies had been shot to death on a bright Sunday morning. No idea who did it or why or who might be next.
Are you fearing for yourself or your family with the murderer on the loose? Yes. When we come back, what had happened that deadly day?
Todd's body was right here. His wallet was still in his pocket. We noticed at the bottom of Todd Chance's tennis shoes had no dirt on them at all.
A curious set of clues. Where would they lead?
It was my first thought that he had gone someplace and had been carjacked. It can be a bucolic spot, this almond grove in Kern County, west of Bakersfield, but on Sunday, August 25th, 2013, it was anything but.
Detectives and medical aid responded, found and obviously deceased male. It took Detective Brewer only 15 minutes to get there. I get a phone call from our communications center that there's been a body, dead body located in a field actually not very far from my house. That was kind of worried that it might be somebody we knew.
Oh, wow. That probably doesn't happen very often. No, I don't. Does it happen very often at all that you would find a body in an almond grove like that in our county?
Yes, it's far too often. Far too often.
There are a lot of almond groves in Kern County that grow more almonds here than anywhere in the world. And the groves crisscrossed with dirt roads are a perfect place for a killer to hide a body.
Todd's body was right here. His sunglasses were. Right up here to Brewer, it wasn't clear at first how Todd died, but there were clues. He had obviously not been dead long. We could all see that.
How long did it take to identify who this person was?
We identified him very quickly because his wallet was still in his pocket with his driver's license.
And nearly as fast as they found Todd's ID, they found his cell phone. Detective Brewer thought that seemed odd, that cell phones are typically taken and used or discarded away from the body or just left. It was odd that it was just 20 or 30 feet away.
There was a bullet hole in Todd's hand, apparently a defensive wound. And once Todd's shirt was off, Brewer could see he'd been shot twice in the chest.
No blood at the scene. None of the bullets were recovered at the scene.
And in this dusty place, the soles of Todd's sneakers were clean. What we thought was odd because of this very powdery dirt that's very common out here, we noticed at the bottom of tot Chance's tennis shoes had no dirt on them at all.
Todd hadn't walked in that almond grove not that day. To Brewer. It was clear he was shot somewhere else, driven there, dead or dying, dragged from a car and just left. He was born about 10 o'clock on a Sunday morning.
It's ironic that he was killed on a Sunday. Todd Chance was a local boy. He and his younger brother, Scott, grew up just outside of Bakersfield in a farming town called Shafter. It was here the chances learn to love the outdoors, whether on horses or off rotors or raising pigs.
They come home from school one day and said, hey, we want to buy some pigs and get into the FFA.
We want to know what Diane and Travis got their boys, those pigs and a membership in the future Farmers of America. And that was only the beginning. I was taught a country boy is a cowboy. What was it about that lifestyle that he liked so much?
The romantic part of it, I guess, being a cowboy. He liked the boots and hats, didn't he? The boots, hats, the shirts, pants, just the lifestyle.
Like his dad, Travis Cowboy Todd also loved fast cars, mustangs.
We had a 076 culprit to come of age to drive and we just gave it to him. Everybody liked that car. It didn't have the big motor in it, but it had all the good stuff. Disc brakes and air conditioning and power steering.
What about the girls? Did it do well with the ladies? Oh, it was a chick magnet. Yes. Every day there were notes on the windshield of the car from some little girl that wanted to have him call her like this car. Thought he was cute.
It wasn't his car, though, that caught Johnny Bowman's attention. It was his cowboy ways they'd met when they both worked at a local drugstore.
I was a cashier, among other things, and he was an asset protection and then casual conversation. I was going to a concert. I walked by it said I should have invited you. You're a cowboy instead of my friends listening to country music separated from that moment, says Johnny, Todd was smitten.
And so then he pursued me.
But Johnny had been burned by her ex, who left her while she was pregnant with Jessica. So she was cautious with Todd.
He was very good looking. I kind of thought he was a ladies man and a player, and I wasn't interested in that at all. I had already been married once and I kind of had come to the conclusion I wanted to find some ugly fat man that would cherish me.
But Todd surprised her. He was very doting, very, you know, open the door for me and anything. I needed a gentleman. Yeah, very much so. A gentleman.
When this gentleman eventually proposed, Johnny said yes.
At the wedding, Todd made sure Jessica knew they were a family.
One, I was a miniature bride. I had a white gown on with my mom and we had our hair the exact same way. And I was presented with a bracelet from Todd. You kind of hit the jackpot first with stepdads, 100 percent, 100 percent.
The 1976 COBRA was long gone by the time Todd was killed, but not as love for cars.
By then, he drove a souped up 2011 Mustang.
He loved cars and he was just like he would always call us when he's a little bit from the house.
Can you hear my exhaust? Was it like I've arrived telling everybody, the whole neighborhood, this was your dad's. I was like a child. Yeah.
Todd babied his car. He had a lot of fun with that car, and Detective Brewer thought maybe someone else wanted to have fun with it, too.
Are you starting to think that perhaps someone wanted Todd's car? It was a nice car.
Yes, it was my first thought that he had gone someplace maybe and stopped for gas or food in the morning and had been carjacked. So you put a bulletin out? Absolutely. Yes. A lot of law enforcement looking for that car that morning. Soon, detectives got their first big break. We get a call from our communication center and we're told that Todd's car has been found in another car.
This is a big deal.
Yes, it is. A big deal that was about to drive the case in a whole new direction. Coming up, the is a little dusty, but it's a very, very pristine shape. How odd is that, that this car is dumped and Todd's gun is right there? Yeah, it's very odd. Did he ever carry a loaded gun in his car? Never. Never.
When Dateline continues. Todd Chance loved being a dad, and they were stuck at the hip, him and his girls. I can't imagine him not ever having kids. Todd and Jenny didn't stay at that drug store, Todd got work as a truck driver and as the girls got bigger, he only drove routes that kept him close to home. Jenny was the ambitious one. Even while working as a cashier, she'd been going to college pursuing an education degree.
After graduation, Jenny found work as a teacher. She worked her way up and in 2009 was promoted to principal of a big elementary school in Bakersfield. Jonny's job was demanding. So Todd became the parent who would care for a sick child. He would stay home. He would be the ones to India. He'd always volunteer if there was a sick child. Also, it's me.
Jenny said she couldn't have gotten so far in her career without Todd.
I've had people tell me before, how do you do what you do? Because I did put in a lot of hours. I'd bring a lot of things home and work on it. And how do you do that? And it's because I have a fantastic husband at home that helps me meet all the needs of my family and be able to do this job.
That seemed to be just the way Todd wanted it. Was he happy being that girl, Dad? I think so. He never complained or said that he wanted boys with us. I mean, I did tons of stuff with him like that. Like Sarah was his boy.
Sarah loved shooting and off roading with her dad. Samantha often came along for the ride.
Usually Jenny worked in the summer, but the summer of 2013 she didn't. And the entire family carved out time for each other.
We went to the beach, went to San Francisco. We went to Vegas. It was perfect timing. And we had the money. And it was a really good summer, probably the best summer I've had.
It was a happy time for the chances, probably felt like it would never end, but it did that terrible Sunday in August. So how is it here in the House now without Iraq?
It's very difficult. Just different milestones that you come across, not even thinking that you're coming across.
You get in the refrigerator and there's something that, you know, was only his that he's the only one who eats that and it's still there.
There are so many ways people can react when a loved one is killed. Some cry uncontrollably, some just can't function. But that wasn't Jenay in a crisis like that.
She's she'll make a list. That's just how she is. I think that's her coping mechanism is just to keep busy.
On the day her husband was killed, the detectives asked Cheney for some help. She says that was just what she needed.
You guys had some breakdowns for going to join the hospital, and they wanted me to go on to my bank account and to see what purchases he had made that day. And then also on the like the 24th. And then they asked me to pull up his text messages through my cell phone provider.
And I felt like they're giving me something to try to, you know, figure out what happened in the debit card has not been used since last night when a vote against Jenny gathered phone and bank records for the detectives.
Quite a bit of help. OK, able to cross the that like I should remember something else. But I mean, it was just a regular day. They say method. And then the detectives left to check out the report that someone had found Todd's car. What we found here are against the curb here and facing this way was the victim, Todd chancers black Mustang.
Todd's car had been left 20 miles from the almond orchard on a residential street called Tiger Flower that had seen better days. Neighbors had called the police to report a parked car that seemed too nice for the area.
They were worried that someone might steal this car and we're told just kind of right up front by the neighbors as soon as we arrive, that it's it's a location where a lot of the drug addicts and the homeless people gather.
What is the condition of the car? The car is a little dusty. It looks like it's bit outside town, but it's a very, really pristine shape.
Brewer appeared in the window. He saw a car key on the floor and a gun that fit the description of the one missing from the chance House. And he noticed the car was unlocked.
We found the gun in the car and not just in the car. It was in the driver's floorboard, half of it sticking out from the floor mat where it was just really visible.
How odd is that, that this car is dumped and and Todd's gun is right there?
Yeah, it's very odd. Usually the gun, if it's not taken by the suspect, it's at least concealed or attempted to be destroyed.
Here's the thing. According to Todd's daughters, he was really careful with his guns and kept them secured. Did he ever carry a loaded gun in his car?
Never. Yeah, never. He would always a load of once we got there and then take him out, we were like, finished. Yeah, they're always in the back.
This was all about his safety. Yes.
Yeah. The current pristine condition with its key on the floor, a gun that could be the murder weapon left in plain sight to Brewer. The scene didn't add up.
Well, our carjacking theory now is showing less and less evidence, especially with the car being left open and the gun left inside it. That was just so, so rare. And heard of that, a carjacking. Now, it's not in my mind anymore. It's something else.
The detective thought it looked like part of a plan, as if someone left the car in the gun in that spot on purpose, hoping they'd get stolen.
And now you're thinking Todd might actually have been targeted? Yes, that's correct.
The plot really thickens with this turn of events. Yes, it does. His family had assured the detectives Todd had no enemies, but it was starting to look like they were wrong. Coming up, what do you find in his phone? It appear to be private pictures sent to him of nude and partially nude female. Were they his wife? They were not his wife.
A mystery woman in taunts phone and another on camera. See a middle aged woman get out of this car and walk around the corner. The first night after Todd Schantz was found dead was a hard one for his family and of course, all my girls that we all slept in bed together and I couldn't sleep. Jenny wasn't the only one losing sleep over her husband's death at the sheriff's department, Detective Brewer and his team were working overtime to figure out who killed Todd.
They needed to turn over every rock and consider every scenario.
For example, according to Jenny, Todd said he was going to the gun show with his dad, but Todd's dad hadn't heard from him.
Do you think that it was possible that Todd had lied to Jenny and was actually going somewhere else and used that as an excuse?
Yes, I thought that might be a possibility. Also, I don't I try not to rule anything out. I can't rule that out that Todd's maybe got another destination he's headed to. And it's not his father's that he's not sharing with his wife.
Yes. If Todd was hiding something from his wife, what was it? Soon enough, Todd's cell phone, which police found not too far from his body in the almond grove, revealed a clue. What do you find in his phone?
We find a lot of just general text messages between him and his wife, and it's him and his children. There's a normal vacation, pictures and pictures of the daughters. And then near the end of the camera roll, we find some some very odd pictures.
What were they? It appeared to be private pictures sent to him of nude and partially nude female. Were they his wife? They were not his wife. What does that tell you right there? Things weren't so perfect in the household.
Yes. Do you immediately suspect that Todd is having an affair?
I think it's possible at this point. We need, of course, to identify who she is.
Detectives needed to track down that unknown woman.
And soon there was another clue about who may have parked Todd's car. Neighbors across the street here, a middle aged woman, get out of this car and walk around the corner.
They said the woman was wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, carrying something the neighbor said around 9:00 a.m. She scurried off on foot, heading south on a street called Denon.
So this becomes another piece of your timeline? Yes, it does.
As you start to put these pieces together, where do you go about looking for video everywhere?
Right away, they found a house with two security cameras and more clues here at 9:00 a.m. the day Todd was killed. You can see a person heading south at a good clip from the direction of Todd's car. Hard to tell if it's a man or a woman, but based on the eyewitness accounts of a woman leaving Todd's car, the fact that few people walk in Bakersfield and this person was walking in the right direction at just the right time. Brewer believed it had to be her.
Anything identifiable on the woman?
The videos are taken from across the street and it's difficult to make a facial identification. But she's got kind of a distinctive, very fast paced walk, kind of like the arm swing.
What was up and away from the waist? Aside from that distinctive walk was hard to see much. But this person seems to be carrying a plastic bag and backpack.
When we leave the video on and you don't see her walk back, then we know that she's gone. At this case, it was self and the street she's on is going to a dead end into a major thoroughfare.
Denon Street dead ends at Panama Lane, which goes on for miles in two directions.
She's either got to go east or west, so the detectives are sent out both directions.
They found security video from a gas station to the West shortly after 9:00 a.m., but no mystery woman.
So the attention now is moved to the east. And that's over the overpass of Highway 99 and down into a pretty good sized shopping center where they found lots of security cameras and lots of video.
We begin to get video from several different locations in that shopping center, which included a Starbucks, Lowe's and the Wal-Mart.
Do you see anyone fitting that description in the video that you obtained?
We do. We begin to see someone. Same clothing, the glasses, the hat. There's the plastic bag and the backpack, and then she does something, of course, and Starbucks is just extremely bizarre. What did she do? She goes to the bathroom and then she comes out wearing different clothes with dark colored sweats over the top of them with the same backpack and the same white bag.
Look behind the woman paying. That's their suspect. And she's changed shoes also. How what is going through your mind as you're watching this video unfold? Once I saw that she did not make a purchase, that is now very obvious to me that this woman went in with the intent to change clothes and conceal herself from us or anyone else who would see her leaving that area.
Is this a hot day in Bakersfield? August is extremely hot. Yes. Even people that jog usually don't wear sweats in this weather in our town, long clothing and especially clothing over clothing, very, very unordinary.
That stood out to you? Yes, it did.
But there were more subtle clues that took the detective some time to see. We, of course, view the video, the and my partner and other detectives over and over. And we all kind of key in on what looks like a yellow round lid that's visible through the light colored white plastic bag she's carrying. Detective Brewer, I believe that was a canister of disinfecting wipes.
And if you're leaving a crime scene, I know what you did with those. You're wiping your crime scene behind you.
Coming up, I was not the kind of wife that went through my husband's phone.
Todd's mystery woman revealed. And that woman on camera. What's she up to now?
Whoever this woman is has had this murder planned and very well planned when Dateline continues.
Diana and Travis Chance had just lost their oldest son, Todd, in those first days. It was hard to know what to do. So they just tried to be there for Janey and their granddaughters every night after the murder.
We were at their house as much as we could be there and just, you know, to be with the girls and console her and the girls and just for ourselves to.
Meanwhile, the investigation was moving fast. Detectives found video from a gas station near the almond grove of a car that looked like Todd's Mustang. Can you see who's driving the car? He cannot.
The windows are up and the cameras are just not clear enough to see. It's barely clear enough to make out the car. But just at the right time, 8:00 a.m., it's heading toward the almond grove.
And then 26 minutes later, the car is seen heading back toward town. Another 30 minutes go by its 857 am, just about the time Todd's body was found. Here's his car again, passing a gas station around the corner from the spot where it was abandoned. The more detectives looked, the more video they found. Here's their suspect. After leaving Starbucks in different clothing, crossing the parking lot and heading toward a nearby Lowe's. It's hard to make out until the suspect gets closer to the store.
Now, the dark shirt, baseball cap, backpack and plastic bag that Brewer believed held the disinfecting wipes can all be seen. They're not perfect, but they certainly are telling you a story.
Yes, they are. And they're giving us a very good timeline as to what happened after this car was dropped off at a neighborhood to Brewer, it seemed his suspect knew her steps ahead of time.
This woman is going from place to place. She's doing something everywhere she goes that we get video.
She changing clothes at Starbucks. She's what appears to be discarding items in front of the Lowe's. She's putting her purse inside the backpack at Lowe's, bent over behind a bunch of crates of manure.
Then at nine 22, the suspect leaves Lowe's and heads toward Wal-Mart.
Then she walks into the side door of the Wal-Mart and straight to the payphone and pulls out a piece of paper. She's already got dumpers wrote down, indicating that whoever this woman is has had this murder planned for sometime and very well planned. She then discards evidence she goes outside past the store and she walks someplace, there's no cameras, and a few seconds later she comes back and we no longer see the bleached white model. So we're thinking that she's gone to a trash can.
Her next step seemed to have been planned out to 23 minutes after she made that phone call. A taxi arrived in, whisked her away. Now, Brewer needed to figure out where. Back at the Chance home, Jenny said she tried to keep track of the fast moving investigation. Are you asking them, do you have any leads? Do you have any suspects? Yes. Yes. And what answers are you getting? Nothing. We're working on it.
Nothing we're working there is was very consistent. Nothing we're working on. It will let you know. And that's that's all I could get.
It's not unusual for detectives to play their cards close to the vest. All the while, they were uncovering more information, like the identity of the woman who'd sent the racy photos to Todd's phone.
It was his old girlfriend, a woman named Kerry, whom he'd met in the early 90s while cruising in that 76 cobra, she became his first big love.
He really fell for her, I think, harder than I thought he did, because the first thing I. Realized was they were going to get an apartment together and I said, OK, but it wasn't OK.
You didn't want him to leave yet? No, I didn't want him to leave you.
Todd and Carrie were together for five years, and then in 1995, it was over. By 96, Jenny and Todd were getting married.
Was he, to your knowledge, having any communication with this woman? No, no. It was just a name that I had known for many, many years before.
What did he tell you about her? We would only talk about her like at the beginning of our relationship, talking about past relationships. But it was someone that he, you know, he was involved with, but they broke up.
But now police told Jenny, based on their investigation, Todd had recently been in touch with Carrie.
And it wasn't just a hey, how are you? It was rated R.
I was not the kind of wife that went through my husband's phone. I didn't in my mind, I was thinking he could have hid stuff from me because I never paid attention. I was never looking for anything like that because I was so secure in my relationship.
But then Jenny said she started to wonder, did you believe, though, maybe there was a chance he was living some kind of double life? I was I was contemplating it, but it was terrible because I'm thinking, why do I need to know all this?
You know, do I want to wake up with a memory of my husband that I had on the twenty fifth when I woke up that morning?
You know, maybe she didn't know her husband as well as she thought.
Coming up, did you think that maybe this other woman might have had something to do with this murder? Absolutely. If there's some kind of an affair actually going on, there could be a reason why Carrie would kill him. At this point, I'm thinking, oh, my gosh, you did it. Investigators believe the prime suspect in Todd Chance's murder had been caught on video, but who was it and where was their suspect going?
His widow, Jenny, thought she might know the answer. At this point, I'm thinking, oh, my gosh, she did it. She meaning Todd's ex, Carrie to Jenny. It was the only person she could think of who might have a grudge against him.
Todd's parents knew there had been issues in the past. It had been an ugly breakup. Things didn't turn out so well for Todd and Carrie.
I don't want to get into where they parted ways. We don't really know exactly what the circumstances were. We would ask Todd and he just didn't want to talk about it.
But detectives needed to know, did you think that maybe this other woman that you found on Todd's phone might have had something to do with his murder? Absolutely.
We don't rule anyone out until we have an absolute suspect and we absolutely couldn't rule carry out.
Detective Brewer learned that after years of not talking in May of 2012, Carrie, now a dental assistant and single mom connected with Todd on social media.
As the detective looked through their exchanges, he noticed they started off innocently enough. But then something caught his attention. From April 2013, Todd asked Carrie, want to play? She responded, No way, married man. But remember, Carrie had sent those racy photos detectives found on Todd's phone. Do you kind of just run through what what a possible motive could be for someone like that?
Oh, absolutely. If there's some kind of an affair actually going on between Carrie and Todd, that there could be a reason why Carrie would kill him.
So Detective Brewer went to talk to Carrie, and as his investigation continued, he called unit of the sheriff's department with some news. And the police ask you to come in?
Yes, actually, they asked me to come in to pick the car up. They said they were releasing the car. And so I called my father in law and I said, because it's a stick and I don't drive it. I never drove his car after all this. I really didn't want to drive his car either.
And she called me and said, they're going to release Todd's car. Will you go with me to pick it up? I said, take it to your house. I don't want to ever see it again. So we went over to the house. Diane stayed there. And whether Jenny and Travis drove together, we walked in and they put us in this little concrete room right here. We'll be with you in a few minutes, OK?
And I'm looking around. I'm going, man, this looks more like an interrogation room than a waiting room, though.
Travis and Jenny both sensed something was off. They didn't have much choice, so they waited.
Doesn't seem like picking up a car if the police did know something, they weren't sharing. But Jenny offered her own theory about why her husband might have been killed.
It was like gang related. They'll have these little 14 year olds that will come and say they did it all to take the heat because they don't get as much trouble imagining something like that.
It was four days after the murder and Travis was still visibly shaken and came out of a hole in middle of night. Everything's kind of a blur. But Detective walked in and said, we're going to have you guys look at videos. And Mr. Chance, we want you to look first.
Investigators wanted him to look at all the security camera footage they had gathered. What did you see in the video?
Saw a lady walking down the street. Different things. They're just saying. Do you do you recognize her?
Travis told them he didn't. They also asked Jenny the videos from up overhead and just walking back and forth. And they kept telling me they go, do you do you recognize the gate? Do you recognize the way she's walking? That distinctive walk Brewer had noticed, but Jenny says she didn't recognize it or anything about the person in the video.
I was totally thinking when I was watching that I was looking for the other woman, the other woman, meaning Todd's ex, Carrie.
But if Janay thought they were asking her to help ID Carrie in the video, she was dead wrong. Coming up, detectives have their eyes on someone else, someone much closer to home. Are you joking?
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Todd Chance had been murdered and his family was trying to understand life without him. I mean, he's everywhere in this house. What do you miss most about him? Just having him to talk to that was like when we went to bed at night.
That was our downtime. No kids around and just talk about, you know, what was going on for the next day and. Our plans. That's what I miss four days after Todd's murder, Jenny and her father in law had gone down to the sheriff's office to pick up Todd's car. That's what they thought.
Anyway, I was asking them, as I said, when am I going to get his phone back? Because I feel like if I had his phone and I could look at all those text messages and things, I guess they're going to have that to me today or something.
Travis and Jenny had both said they didn't recognize the woman in the videos, but detectives kept asking Jenny questions. I really thought they're still trying to help me out there, trying to solve this for me. As Jenny sat there watching video of the person detectives believed killed her husband. She says it gradually began to dawn on her. Todd's ex-girlfriend wasn't the suspect at all. And I realized, oh, my goodness, they think it's me.
She was right. Detectives told her flat out they thought she was the woman in the videos. They thought she was the one who killed Todd. Suddenly, Jenny was in the hot seat. She suddenly began pressing her. They were getting rough with me, but I handle gruff well. I'm a principal of an elementary school. I get I get parents that come in and they are mad as anything. That's fine. They're not mad at me. They're mad at the situation.
I can handle that.
But Jenny said detectives kept at her. They have never been talked to like the way he was yelling at me.
And then I just I did ask him to stop yelling at me and he wouldn't answer. Then I said, I want an attorney and then they arrest me.
Jenny was charged with Todd's murder. It turned out when detectives asked her to come pick up her husband's car. They had other plans all along. So this was a bit of a ruse to get to get her it.
Yes, it may have seemed like a sudden turn of events, but the thing was, Detective Brewer had suspicions about Jenny from the very beginning. He thought her reaction to the news of her husband's murder didn't seem quite right. That's why investigators decided to secretly turn on an audio recorder as they talked to her on that first day.
I said, no, no, no, everything's OK. Yes, we always who later has Brewer watched and watched those videos?
He became convinced that the woman who'd been caught on camera was Jenny when he confronted her with the videos at the police station. Her reaction only confirmed his suspicion. Usually, if it's not you in the video, I get an outburst of anger like who is that woman? You think that's me? And what I get at one point from her is how? Well, that can't be me. That woman is too heavy. Are you convinced at this point that Jenny is your killer?
While Jenny was being booked for murder, her house was getting turned upside down by detectives looking for evidence Todd's mom was there.
I think it dawned on me then when they did the search warrant because they were taking all the computers and all the cell phones, all the electronic stuff.
And I thought. Oh, my gosh. They suspect her, that's going to be a huge blow.
It was now, along with mourning their son's death, Diana and Travis had to stomach the idea that their daughter in law might be involved in his murder, but Cheney's daughters weren't having it. Are you joking? It came as a shock. Complete shock.
Oh, I know the girls were in danger of losing the only parent they had left. It was hard. Everything was just being thrown at us and just it was crazy. I just wanted to see her and hug her like that. Was it? That was all I was thinking about. The case was soon the talk of Bakersfield deputies arrested Chance's wife, Leslie Jenay, the principal at Fairview Elementary School. What was it like for you being in jail?
It was the worst, worst experience. I'm thinking, how can this happen in America? And then I was so worried because of what was going on at my house with my girls.
There was nothing you could do but wait for her arraignment. She figured Jessica would be in court and was anxious about being able to see her. I know she's going to want me to look at her. And I can't see because I didn't have my contacts and I didn't have my glasses were taken away from me and they wouldn't let me take them to court. I wanted to look at my daughter. I wanted to look at a familiar face. But that didn't happen because Janie never made it inside that courtroom.
So you arrest Janay, you have her in custody. And then four days later, a big twist comes along. In this case, it was for me. Yeah, it was a big twist coming out.
Are you capable of murdering someone? No. No. Did you plan the murder of your husband? No.
A turn in the case. Did detectives jump the gun?
What they did, I believe it's arrest now and investigate later. How much did you miss him? Oh, tons. I still miss him. After Todd Chance's murder, his daughters were consumed by their loss, stuff that pops up like he would have loved that I would see something to be like. And my immediate thought was, oh, I got to tell my dad and I can't.
Then just four days after losing their dad, their mom was taken away, too. She was under arrest, charged with Todd's murder. But just as jinnies daughters prepared themselves for her court appearance, they got some good news.
The D.A. decided not to file charges against Jenay. Prosecutors thought the blurry videos wouldn't be enough to convince a jury and told the detectives to go back to the drawing board. People who knew Jenny as a principal told our affiliate in Bakersfield there was no way she was a killer.
She's well-respected, she's hardworking, loved by her students, her staff.
After four nights in jail, Jenny was free to go. We sat down with her three months later in November of 2013. She talked about the moment her lawyer broke the news to her.
He said, you'll be going home and the weight just lifted off me.
She was relieved, but also annoyed that police wasted precious time on her instead of following other leads.
What they did is I believe it's arrest and investigate later. They always look at the spouse they had after. All right.
That was perfectly fine with me. Get me out of the way so you can get on to bigger and better things. I had no problem with that because I had nothing to hide. They're looking at me like crazy. Look at me. I'm I'm the most boring person in the world.
Detectives weren't buying it. They believe Jenay knew months before Todd was killed that he had connected with his ex. Carrie, is it possible that you were seeking revenge on your husband?
That you were angry was not possible because I didn't know I would have talked to Todd about it. I mean, that's that's no ifs, ands or buts. You know, I've been married before. I've been in that situation before. And I walked away. We separated. And that was what was that's what happened. Are you capable of murdering someone? No. No. Did you plan the murder of your husband? Did you kill your husband? No.
No. Love my husband very much. She says her daughters were eyewitnesses who could prove her innocence because they were home with her the morning Todd was killed. What time did your daughter wake up or what time can you be placed here by someone that I know of?
I believe my daughter saw me around 10:00, but I believe my other daughter, she told my attorney that she came down at nine thirty and just came down the stairs and saw me working over on the table and then went up and went back to bed. And I didn't even know she came downstairs.
The support of her girls never wavered, but her in-laws, that was another story.
Do they think you're guilty? I think they do. I think the police officers or the investigators have told them such that there's I think they've just told them no no ifs, ands or buts. We know it's her and they believe that, which is tough.
Diana and Travis did indeed believe that their daughter in law, who vowed to love, honor and cherish their oldest son had done the unthinkable when it first started.
I didn't want to think it was her. I got all these thoughts running through my head. I didn't want to. I didn't want to think that she could kill my son, but Travis, who had initially not identified the woman in the videos as Jenny, had come to a painful conclusion. He now believed it was her. Is this a shock?
Well, it's coming pretty fast. It's just like them telling you your son's dead. You don't want to believe that. And they tell you that his wife is the one that did it. You don't want to believe that either. It's just kind of like a nightmare. You keep wanting somebody to slap you and wake you up. While her in-laws suspected her, Jenay still wondered about Todd's ex, Carrie, but detectives had already gotten past her. Carrie and Todd had stopped communicating months before his murder.
They never had an affair or even met in person. And the mystery woman in the video, Brewer said, didn't look like Carrie. There was just some things about Carrie and the way Carrie walked carried herself and her physical features that told me that this is not the same woman on these videos. Most importantly, she was with her daughter and some friends several hours away near the mission, San Juan Capistrano, when Todd was killed. And combine that with her car getting a parking ticket because she parked somewhere she shouldn't have.
We were also able to confirm the parking ticket with the date and time.
As far as police were concerned, Carrie was in the clear, but Janay was more determined than ever to clear her own name and find her husband's killer as much as I. Have brought up my girls, and it doesn't matter what other people think, this, it matters what other people think, you know, it does. It matters. You know, for my family and my community to know, you know, plus we deserve to know the answers, what happened to this great man?
Jenny told us a cold case wasn't an option and it wasn't for Detective Brewer either. He kept digging.
We found after searching her home that there was several life insurance policies. There had been taken out for several, several totaling how much money we totaled.
I think three or four of them at close to a half a million dollars.
As suspicious as that sounds, Janice said she and her husband had each taken out policies, naming the other as beneficiary. They were taken out eight and 10 years ago. Our policies are very old. Jenny was also the main breadwinner of the family. She said she didn't need the money.
Did you receive or are you going to receive any life insurance money? I have not received any life insurance money. And that's because the investigators have put a halt to that. I wish I could get my insurance policies just to hire an investigator and do this right. But I am frustrated at this point. Extremely frustrated.
She wasn't the only one. It would be three years before anything changed with Todd's case, but a whole lot would change with Jenny. Just wait until you see her. How much do you miss him? I miss when we spoke to Jenay Chance in 2013, she was out of jail, but still the prime suspect in the murder of her husband, Todd. Does your gut tell you that they're going to arrest you again?
No. No, it doesn't. But I still have that uneasiness. I feel confident in my innocence that I think there's no way they can't. And she was right. They hadn't. In years past, Todd's murder remained unsolved and Johnny began to collect on his life insurance policies, except for one policy that Todd's parents found out about and thought they could contest.
We paid a lawyer to tell us how to take that away from Jenny and give it to the girls. And we went to court.
We did, too. It was 2016, three years after we first met Jenny. When she arrived at court, we barely recognized her. That slim woman in dark pants and a pocket on top is Jenay. She shed nearly 100 pounds from lap band surgery. A woman transformed. She strode confidently into court. But once inside, she agreed to a settlement by the parents and released funds for the virus.
While Travis and Diana got what they wanted, the money went to their grandkids, not Jenny.
All in all, it was a good day. We accomplished what we've been trying to do for over a year, so trying to keep her from getting the money to keep her from being rewarded for what we think she'd done. They hadn't seen Jenny in a while either. Were you shocked at her weight loss? Yeah, yeah, we saw her at some Sarah's softball games and we were standing about 50 feet from her and didn't recognize her. And I said she's less than half the person that she was before.
Ginny's daughter say the weight loss brought their mother obvious joy. Did you notice a change in your mom?
Yeah. Yeah. You know, skipping her step. Yeah, she was a lot happier. You can just see she was more herself, like she wasn't holding back at all. She would dance and is just more confident that more. Yeah, exactly. More confident.
Three years after Todd's death, Jenny seemed to be moving on. But Detective Brewer wasn't. Months turned into years as he slowly gathered evidence trying to nail down every detail.
I would get up and think of, do we think of this? Do we think of that?
And about every two or three months, something else would pop up that we didn't notice right up front, like the time he was looking through photos from the search of the house and something caught his eye.
It's a picture of Todd and Jenny and their two girls are in some type of a crime scene dress up. So as I go through the financial records, I notice a an expenditure to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
It was from that great summer before Todd died when the chances took all those vacations. And I see CSI the experience and I've never heard of it. It's based on the popular TV crime drama through a race to Las Vegas to see it for himself. It was a huge exhibit with three different scenarios. And of course, one of them is a woman who murders her husband and dumps his body in the desert. Wow. Yes, that's exactly what I said.
While Brewer saw parallels to his real investigation, the CSI exhibit showed how detectives can track a suspect's cell phone.
The suspect in the video used a payphone at the Wal-Mart.
Another display showcased shoe prints at a crime scene. Remember how the suspect in the video changed her shoes at the Starbucks? Was it almost like the principal had gone to some form of, like, murder school?
Exactly. If Jenay had learned how to wipe down a crime scene, it might explain why investigators were only able to get one fingerprint off Todds Mustang. Whose fingerprint was it? Chinese.
What made it suspicious was that it was on the driver's side door. Did she ever drive Todd's car? She told us she had something.
She told me to because it's a stick and I don't drive it. But the evidence inside the car told investigators something different. They found Jenny's DNA on both the steering wheel and the gearshift knob places that it should not be if you're not the driver.
She also told everyone she hated guns. Yet that summer of fun included a family shooting trip just weeks before Todd died. Here's Jenny with the very gun found inside Todd's Mustang, the gun police proved was the murder weapon. All of this evidence was circumstantial, of course, but some evidence was harder to explain away.
Investigators had found more security videos. This one showed where the taxi took their suspect after it left Wal-Mart.
She gets dropped off at a Sam's Club in the front and she walks away from there. That location was key because it was only a mile away from Todd and Jenny's house. The next camera captures the suspect even closer to their house. It's 10:00, 10:00 a.m. on the day Todd was killed. The figure is in different clothes and appears to be running around in the suspect's hand. You can see a piece of paper.
I'm thinking that's probably the numbers for the taxicab that she's going to discard. She doesn't want to be caught with that.
Here, just around the corner from the Chance House a few minutes later, another fleeting image. Brewer thought that was Janay racing to get home and that she had to be the killer. The videos alone hadn't been enough for the day before, so Brewer kept digging.
He discovered that three weeks before the murder, Janay made a purchase at a Wal-Mart. She never otherwise shopped at the one where the suspect had used the pay phone.
So we went back to the Wal-Mart, of course, and pulled the video for that transaction. The video clearly showed Jenny at the Wal-Mart and we find something that just really, really bizarre. And for me, it was the absolute turning point of the case. What was it?
She walks up to the Grieder and she begins to talk to him and she raises her hand up to her ear like this.
What do you think she was doing? I believe she asked that Grieder where the pay phone was.
The detective knew Jenny had a work cell and a personal cell. So he believed there was only one reason she would need a pay phone to make her plan work. And then he got the last piece of the puzzle.
Her laptop had been sent to the FBI lab for analysis, the one she'd said she'd been using when Todd was killed.
Finally, the results came back.
No one had been manually manipulating that computer until about 11 o'clock in the morning.
No one's typing on keys or searching. No one's moving the mouse. No one's typing keys.
But that was her story that she was on the computer. That's correct. The alibi is now gone.
December 1st, 2016, more than three years after Todd's murder, they had enough to arrest Jenny again. How did it go down?
We had a team follow her back from her office and she was stopped by a patrol car. The officer told her that she was stopped for a traffic violation. And then I just walked up as he got her out of the car and told her she was under arrest for the murder of her husband.
And what was her reaction? She said, Are you kidding me? And I said, No, ma'am, we are not kidding you. Coming up here, Crisan Jinnah's daughter, Jessica. Detectives have some questions to ask and some video to show. As most of us have found out, the hard way getting into debt is easy and getting out is hard, especially if your credit score isn't great. Thankfully, now there's upstart dotcom, the revolutionary lending platform that knows you're more than just your credit score and offers smarter interest rates to help you pay off high interest credit card debt.
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Jenny Chance was under arrest again for the murder of her husband, Todd. She sat down with me earlier this year to tell us about that moment.
Surprised, dumbfounded. I thought this will all be corrected. It will all be corrected and and I'll be home soon. So let's talk a little bit a little bit about how things have changed since 2013. You've lost well over 100 pounds. Yes. Yes. I was working towards trying to lose weight prior to my husband's death, but after my husband passed away, my my weight just melted off.
She'd had the lap band surgery before Todd's death. But if Jenny was hoping to start a new life now, it was shattered on the day of her arrest. Detectives questioned her daughter's detective. Brewer asked Jessica about Jenny's behavior the day Todd was murdered.
How about your mom? She reacted in a way you would think your wife would react if I told your husband was murdered. Jessica stood by her mom. Then Detective Brewer showed her those security videos. It was the first time Jessica had ever seen them. And right away something jumped out at her. You increasingly remember the backpack the suspect was carrying in most of the videos.
The color is hard to see, but here it sort of looks red. Jessica thought she recognized it to have that backpack.
Does that tell you if it was very distinct when she saw the backpack? Something seemed to click that. Jessica, who had been one of her mom's most ardent supporters, appeared to come all at once to a terrible realization that her mother. Whether video to be released and she went a step further, much further when Detective Brewer asked her about the video from Wal-Mart. I think the reason why she doesn't have the paperwork for anything, it seemed that Jessica had done a 180 and now believed her mom had killed her stepdad that day.
Anyway, by the time we interviewed her four years later, Jessica had done another about face. She now says investigators duped her by showing her the Wal-Mart video along with all the others. They show me a video that is very clearly that my mother and I thought, well, yeah, that's her. And then I just started bawling. I was like, well, if that's her and the last one, it's her. And all of them together were all the same day.
If Jessica ever doubted her mother's innocence, she says she doesn't anymore. Did part of you worry or think maybe this could be my mom?
I mean, your mind goes there, but when you look at it, it's just it's not her and everything that's transpired from everything. And there's no way. No way.
All three of Jenny's daughters told me the person in the videos was not their mom and that despite what Detective Brewer says, maybe not even a woman, there's no way to know.
Actually, the last one, when the guy's like running across the street, it looks like a male. You also say that your mom was not there, never run, never ran or jaywalked. Never. That was a big deal. Like, she would walk forever just to go across on a crosswalk.
As for the backpack, you even recognize the red backpack. Yeah, growing up, there was a red backpack around, but I hadn't seen it in years prior to that.
I couldn't believe police still thought she killed her husband, Simon, elementary school principal. And, you know, for anyone to believe that I would do this, I understand the investigators don't know the relationship between my husband and myself, but they are investigators. They should have researched and known this.
I'm going to go through at least some of the evidence in this case. Ginnie's trial began on December 9th, 2019.
Kern County prosecutors Andrea Cooler and Art Norris told the jury that the elementary school principal had not only killed her husband, she'd enrolled herself in murder 101.
Leslie Jenay Chance, through her actions, prepared a very involved and detailed lesson plan on how to kill her husband, how to murder him, how to murder Todd Chance, and in fact, on August 25th, 2013. That's exactly what she did. The prosecutors believe there were multiple motives, jealousy, you're going to hear, ladies and gentlemen, that those photos were sent to the cell phone of Todd Chance money. You're going to hear about some life insurance policies and something more complicated.
We both think that her love for Todd had died long before that trigger was pulled. She had plenty of photographs in her office of her kids and everything else, but not one single photo anywhere.
Of her husband, you're going to hear that they told the jurors about the videos, the gun, how Todd's shoes had no dust, and then the prosecution called a key witness, a woman who had been visiting Todd and Jenny's neighbor the morning of the murder.
She testified that she saw the Mustang pull out of the garage with Todd driving, but he wasn't alone. Next to him was a woman wearing a cap and large sunglasses.
I just happened to glance to the car and it was a male and a female, and the female flashed my way. And then that's when I turned away.
I would say that she was the single most important witness we had because quite frankly, if you believe her, we're done. There's there's no other explanation, according to Brewer in the prosecutors.
It all added up to murder.
What I believe happened is that she at some point had confronted Todd about the photographs and probably told him we're not going to be able to argue about this inside the house with the kids.
So let's go for a drive. They left the house together. Clearly, they drove out to the Almagro. As soon as he pulled over, I think she shot him. He had raised one arm up as he sees the gun in a defensive manner, shot through the hand and then into the chest and then a second shot into the chest, pulled his body out of the car, laid his body in the dirt with his wallet there so that he would be identified.
And that's important so that they could then go to the house and notify her and she would be at home.
And then she drove somewhere and cleaned the car up with the bleach wipes, she then left that location and parked her car in front of essentially a drug house with the gun and the car clearly visible so that a person possibly leaving this drug house would see it and think, hey, I've just basically won the lottery and then the location to location begins it just trying to keep us from ever finding out who she is.
It was a great example of a case where all of the evidence just fit together.
Many court hearings not so fast, said the defense. Jenay has been wanting her day in court. And here it is.
Ginnie's attorney said he had actual proof she was innocent and his star witness, no surprise, was Jenay herself.
Coming up, you've brought into question the credibility of the detective. We did that in four days. Detective Brewer was convinced that it was her. Was this a rush to judgment? All eyes would be on the stand. And Jenny Chance.
I spoke the truth. I spoke my truth when Dateline continues.
There is a body murder cases are often circumstantial. The prosecution tries to assemble a bunch of small puzzle pieces into one big picture and the defense, its job is to tear it apart. That's exactly what Jenny's attorney, Tony Logit aimed to do.
I believe if any married person gets killed, the spouse is No. One suspect, no matter what. Then four days, Detective Brewer was convinced that it was her.
That's true. Brewer had arrested Jenay just four days after the murder and had to release her because there wasn't enough evidence. You brought into question the credibility of the detective? We did. The defense. Detective Brewer had tunnel vision and ignored key evidence, like the fact that Jenny had an alibi.
Daughter Sarah said she saw her mom working at home around the time Todd was killed, and she stated that when she woke up, she saw her mom. Her mom was downstairs doing what she always does. Every Sunday, which is laundry, she was watching TV, doing laundry and looked like she was doing work at the same time.
Not only that, the defense accused the detective of hiding evidence. Detective Brewer had interviewed friends and colleagues of jinnies who watched the security videos and couldn't identify her.
It was never checked into evidence of them looking at the surveillance video and saying saying that it wasn't her and said the defense, the prosecution's key witness was wrong. There was no way Jane could have been in the passenger seat of Todd's car as it was backing out of the garage. The defense said Todd wouldn't let anyone get in the car in the garage because the door was too close to the wall.
You can't get in the passenger side where the car is parked. You actually have to back out and people have to get in there. Just not enough room. Today was way too big.
Then Jane herself made what may have been the most critical decision of the trial.
You decided to take the stand? Yes. Why did you feel so strongly about that? Because I know my truth, Jane.
I spent days on the witness stand and told the jury, her side, that she loved her husband, that she had no idea there were naked photos on his phone. So she had nothing to be jealous of that as the breadwinner in her family, she didn't need a life insurance payout. And perhaps most important, she had proof that the woman in the video could not be her. The reason was very simple to understand.
Her attorney said, though, she had to wear glasses or she was. Virtually blind, Janet Schantz was extremely nearsighted. No way she could have navigated the streets of Bakersfield without her glasses. And since Jenny didn't wear contacts and didn't own prescription sunglasses, the defense said the woman in the big sunglasses was not Jenay. Detective Brewer had been on the case for more than six years. He even delayed his retirement to see it through. Now, seeing Jenny testify, he felt the need to pray.
There are certain things that the Lord is just going to have to take control of, and that's what this is. We're going to need some real help here.
You specifically hoped that she would be caught in a lie and you turn to God for that? I did.
And she was the lie involved. That very specific and critical detail in Jenny's testimony.
She had made such a big deal about the fact that she could not see without glasses that she did not like contact lenses. It had been years since she had tried contact lenses and they really played that never.
Jenny's defense attorney even brought records from her eye doctor. They proved she had bad eyesight and never bought prescription sunglasses. But then the prosecutor looked through the same records and found something else, something big.
Sure enough, it showed that, in fact, in July of 2013, a month before the murder, that she had obtained two boxes of contact lenses.
On cross-examination, Colar confronted Janie with jinnies own medical records. Watching in the courtroom, Detective Brewer knew this was the moment he prayed for.
It was an absolute lie and she was just absolutely caught in it.
And right in front of the jury, cameras weren't allowed during testimony. So the moment wasn't captured on video. But I asked Johnny about it.
What was your vision like at the time of the murder? Are you still wearing glasses, contacts, glasses? Don't answer it.
Oh, that's Johnny's attorney off camera counseling her not to respond. She ignored him.
I spoke the truth. I spoke my truth there. And I know I was never wearing contacts during 2013.
But remember, Johnny talked to us in 2013.
You were not wearing glasses in our interview, which was just a not too long after you got out of jail.
I saw you wearing contacts. I know. No, absolutely not. I do know that there was a time that I would take my glasses off for pictures because I thought it looked better without the glasses.
But it wasn't just the interview. You didn't seem to be struggling or even in our walk in the yard. You seemed fine without the glasses. I just don't recall that.
But you might recall another thing she told us back then about wanting to see her daughter Jessica in court.
I know she's going to want me to look at her. And I can't see because I didn't have my contacts and I didn't have my glasses. What did you catch that? Let's play it again. And I can't see because I didn't have my contacts and I didn't have my glasses. The big lie about her contacts undercut Johnny's credibility. And prosecutors said there was something else Johnny couldn't hide her unmistakable walk.
The defendant had a very distinct walk, a very distinct gait. She swung her arm. She walked very forcefully, kind of a large step walk, much like the suspect in those security videos, said the prosecution.
The body appearance is very similar and absolutely the walk was was absolutely similar.
The jury, of course, didn't hear about our experience with Johnny, but they had heard plenty. After Johnny was caught in that lie about the contacts by the prosecution, her lawyer tried to repair the damage.
In closing arguments, we brought in the records. There were no prescription sunglasses. But, yeah, there were contacts that were purchased. But there are ten thousand photos and every photo has a with glasses. She always wore glasses. She didn't like contacts. I was on that.
The prosecution told the jury it wasn't just the contacts. Jenae Chance was lying about everything. So ladies and gentlemen, based on all of the evidence in this case, I would ask you to find the defendant, Leslie Jenay Chance, guilty of the first degree, premeditated and deliberate murder of Todd Chance.
Now, six years after Todd's murder, the case was in the hands of the jury. Coming up, I thought, my goodness, they're not only going to stand up and say she's not guilty, they're going to say she's innocent. And this was a ridiculous, you know, case.
Eight days of deliberation later.
Would they when it gets past three days, I begin to worry. When it gets past four or five, I'm really worried. Jenny Chance had spent three years in jail awaiting trial for the murder of her husband, Todd, by the time the case went to the jury, it looked like the odds were against her.
But Jenny didn't think so. She could almost taste freedom.
How were you? I was very confident. I expected to go back the next day. And it be done, actually, when I would lay in bed at night, I thought, my goodness, they're not only going to stand up and say she's not guilty, they're going to say she's innocence. And this was a ridiculous case taught in Jenny's daughters who visited their mother twice a week, couldn't wait to get her home now, even have her favorite ice cream.
This is the thing that she really wanted when she got out. So it's here waiting for her.
Oh, yeah. They got her room ready and hung her clothes in the closet. Meanwhile, the jury deliberated. How nervous were you waiting for the verdict?
More than normal. When it gets past three days. I began to worry. When it gets past 4:00 or 5:00, I'm really worried.
After eight days, the call finally came in. Everyone headed to court.
The jury comes back from deliberating. How are you two holding up?
Oh, I am squeezing the hand of the DA's victim's advocate.
I looked at each one of the jury members and I thought, is it going to be guilty or a hung jury or what?
When the verdict came in, I thought I heard it wrong. I seriously thought I heard it wrong.
We, the jury, find the defendant, Leslie Jenay Chance, guilty of a felony.
The jury convicted Jenny of murder in the first degree. This is the moment you've been waiting for for years. How are you feeling of mixed emotions?
Because we're thinking about the girls, the justice. We're Todd was good. Nobody really won. Everybody lost because of what she did.
How is your relationship now with your granddaughters? We don't have one. That's got to be heartbreaking.
Oh, it's it's very heartbreaking. Is there anything you would say to them if they're listening? I love them very much. We love them unconditionally.
Your grandparents, Todd's parents have not supported your mom. How has that affected your relationship?
We try to keep a relationship with them. They are my grandparents. I'm always going to love them, have a love for them. But the way that they see how things are with this, it makes it very difficult. Sometimes they told us they miss you.
Do you have any reaction to that?
Oh, no. Oh, no, Seth. It's complicated. It really is. It's going to take time. Yeah, Jessica blames herself. She thinks she sealed her mom's fate when she told detectives the woman in the videos was. First of all, that her mother and I carry around this enormous amount of guilt.
If I wasn't stupid in 2016 and said that comment, maybe mom would be home. This isn't because of you.
I don't think it was just that comment. They've been going for four years.
We don't know a lot. And I don't want my father back. Yeah, you all were forced to endure a lot in a really short amount of time. It's still not over. We're still fighting.
Yeah, Jonny is still fighting to and plans to appeal. She was sentenced to 50 years to life. Our second interview with her happened in jail. After the verdict, I would go to bed thinking, I'm going to wake up. And it's all it's it's this was all a dream. It truly has been a bad dream.
What do you say to anyone who might say, well, she's crying now because she was found guilty, not because of her husband? I cried then I just didn't cry out in front of everybody, you know, I, I did I, I mourn my husband.
For Diana and Travis, the fight is over, they finally got the justice they wanted, but the loss of their son Todd remains. The last seven years has been really hard, and I hope he understands that we did everything we could to make sure that. He got justice. His dad does find comfort in one thing. Well, I got to tell him I loved him many times. Love you, too, Dad. That's all for now. I'm Lester Holt, thanks for joining us.
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