GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A jury has found Jared Chance guilty of all charges including second-degree murder and mutilation of a dead body in the death of 31-year-old Ashley Young.
The jury of 10 women and 2 men started deliberations early Friday afternoon and delivered their verdict shortly after 3 p.m.
Chance was convicted of second-degree murder, three counts of tampering with evidence, mutilation of a dead body and concealing the death of an individual in connection to Young’s death.
Chance, 30, started the week by rejecting a plea agreement that promised him a lower minimum sentence in exchange for him saying exactly what happened to Young. He now faces a minimum of 26 years to 87 years and a maximum of life in prison when he’s sentenced on Oct. 10.
The jury delivered its decision after hearing Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Lawrence Boivin sum up the wholly circumstantial case against Chance. Boivin said that Chance killed Young on the floor of his Franklin Street apartment and then cut her up in the bathtub.
Boivin pointed to the autopsy which showed Young did not die of accident or disease. He admitted that he can’t say how Young was killed because her head, hands and feet have never been found. But he asked the jury not to allow Chance to go free because he was able to get rid of the remains.
“Then all you need to do, folks, is kill someone, hide the one part that shows the cause of death and you get away,” he said.
Defense attorney Andrew Rodenhouse worked to show the jury that the lack of direct evidence should provide enough doubt to find Chance not guilty.
“You gotta prove it’s actually him that’s done this,” he said.
He said his client had no reason to kill Ashley.
“You saw the text messages: ‘I just kissed him, he admitted that he liked me.’ He had a crush on her back before and they were cuddling,” Rodenhouse said.
But the argument that won the day came when the prosecutor asked the jury to imagine what they would do or could do.
“The saw starts to vibrate and then you feel the bit of the blade as it goes into her femur. If you didn’t kill that person, which one of you would ever be able to do that to another human being?” Boivin asked.
Boivin also spoke about Chance’s alleged lies to Young’s mother as she frantically searched for her missing daughter.
“How cruel is this man that he continues to lie to the mother of the woman he killed,” Boivin said.
Rodenhouse said his client is a “dumb—” but not a murderer. However, the defense did not address the mutilation of Young’s body.
Since Tuesday, jurors heard from Young’s mother, who described her frantic search for her daughter in late November and early December. They also heard from Chance’s friend, who said Chance asked him to lie to Young’s mother about her whereabouts.
Testimony also came from Chance’s neighbor, who found Young’s torso on Dec. 2 in the basement of the Grand Rapids house where they rented apartments. Jurors listened to forensic technicians who photographed the crime scene and tested the bloody reciprocating saw found in Chance’s parents’ Holland home.
They heard from Chance’s brother, who recounted moving evidence out of and back into Chance’s apartment. Jurors also listened to the police officer who Chance saw when he went to the police department after Young’s death, but who couldn’t arrest Chance because there was no active case.
A forensic pathologist also took the stand and said that blood and tissue found on Young’s sweatshirt — pulled from a dumpster near Chance’s apartment — indicated she may have died of blunt force trauma or a gunshot wound to the head. He couldn’t say for certain, though, because her head has not been recovered.
Young’s family didn’t want to talk on camera Friday given the harrowing trial they just endured, but they did tell News 8 justice had been served.