Killer’s dad convicted of accessory after dismemberment

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man was convicted Monday of accessory after the fact in the dismemberment of the woman his son killed in 2018.

In addition, a jury acquitted James Chance of one count of perjury and was deadlocked on a second count of perjury.

Kent County Judge Paul Denenfeld declared a mistrial on that second count of perjury, which means Chance could be tried again for it. It was unclear Monday whether the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office would pursue a retrial.

Chance, 77, was stoic as the verdicts were read. His attorney then had to explain to him what they meant.

Sentencing guidelines in Chance’s case call for no more than six months in jail for the accessory charge. The perjury charge could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life. He will remain free on bond pending his sentencing on March 11.

Jurors got the case Friday. They deliberated for four hours then and then all day Monday before their decisions — and lack thereof on the third count — were announced around 5 p.m.

A few hours earlier, the foreperson had said jurors were deadlocked on two of the counts. Denenfeld told them to go back and deliberate a further to see if they could reach consensus.

Chance’s son, Jared Chance, is already serving 100 to 200 years in prison for killing Ashley Young, 31, of Oshtemo Township. Her partial remains were found Dec. 2, 2018, in the Grand Rapids house where Jared Chance was renting an apartment. Her head, hands and feet have still not been recovered. Last week, jurors saw a transcript of James Chance’s December 2018 interrogation with police in which he said his son admitted to dumping parts of her body in trash cans around metro Grand Rapids.

Over the course of the trial, prosecutors tried to prove James Chance intentionally omitted details about where the family stopped when some of Young’s body parts were in the car, hindering the investigation and recovery of remains. They said a short trip to the Grand Rapids Police Department before Young’s remains were found — when the family left because James Chance wanted his son to have an attorney present before speaking with investigators — was a ruse to buy time.

But the defense argued any omissions were simply the result of a faulty memory, not deliberate lies. They said it was police who dropped the ball when the Chance family went to GRPD, not James Chance.

Young’s mother declined to comment after hearing James Chance’s verdict.

Chance’s wife Barbara Chance could end up spending more time in jail than him after pleaded no contest last week to the same charges he faced. The terms of her plea agreement call for up to a year in jail.

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