GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Konrad Chance, the brother of convicted killer and mutilator Jared Chance, took the stand Wednesday as a witness against their father, saying James Chance knew what Jared had done hours before police did.
James Chance is standing trial for perjury and being an accessory after the fact in the dismemberment of Ashley Young’s body.
Jared Chance was previously convicted of murdering Young, 31, of Oshtemo Township at his Grand Rapids apartment in late 2018.
Konrad Chance was the first person Jared Chance confessed to.
He testified Wednesday that on Dec. 2, 2018, he and his parents drove to the Franklin Street SE house where Jared Chance was renting an apartment. He said Jared Chance loaded the family Honda with items, including “a cardboard box with a big black bag in it.”
It turned out the box contained the dismembered limbs of Young.
Once the family arrived at their home in Holland, Jared Chance took something out of the car and burned it in the fire pit, Konrad Chance testified.
Later, in Konrad Chance’s basement bedroom, Jared Chance admitted what he had done.
“He was extremely upset, the most upset I’ve ever seen him,” Konrad Chance recalled.
After that confession, Konrad Chance said, his brother told his parents.
Konrad Chance said everyone in the family was crying as they drove back to Grand Rapids. Once there, they moved the box containing Young’s remains back into the Franklin Street house.
“I don’t believe my dad helped move anything,” Konrad Chance said. “I pretty sure he didn’t.”
But when questioned by police in December 2018, James Chance told a detective that he helped carry a box.
After returning the box to the house, the family went to the Grand Rapids Police Department.
“The father stated that his son was there to talk in regards to a missing person and I’d asked if the missing person was Ashley,” Tiffany Lamos, a former GRPD intern, testified.
Lamos, now a rookie cop in on the east side of the state, said she had talked to Young’s mother the day before and knew Young was missing.
After that, veteran GRPD Lt. Pat Merrill took over. Young’s mother reported to him on Dec. 1, 2018, that her daughter had not been heard from and she was worried. However, Young was an adult and it wasn’t possible to make a missing person report at the time, Merrill said.
“She had no history of mental health issues, no drug abuse issues, no emotional distress issues I had to worry about,” Merrill said, “and they were very, very concise and clear that she was just a young lady that was hanging around with someone who wasn’t a great guy.”
When Jared and James Chance came into the police department, Jared was being sought in connection to Young.
“He (James Chance) stated that his son was being harassed on social media, on Facebook, that people on Facebook had told him he had better submit himself for questioning,” Merrill recalled.
Merrill said he asked Jared Chance when he had last seen Young, at which point he said James Chance told him, “My son’s not talking without an attorney.”
“We don’t just provide attorneys for people who just walk through the door and say, ‘You have to provide me an attorney,'” Merrill said. “That doesn’t make any sense. There’s no case here. We’re just providing a courtesy service to the family.”
Laura Joyce, James Chance’s defense attorney, grilled Merrill about why he didn’t detain or attempt to get more information from Jared Chance and his father about Young’s disappearance.
Merrill said he had no authority to detain Jared Chance. James Chance told Merrill that he was making the biggest mistake of his career by letting Jared Chance go.
“He stated, ‘This is your only chance. You’re going to let him leave?'” Lamos testified.
On Wednesday afternoon, jurors heard testimony regarding the tracking of the Chances’ cellphones on Dec. 2 as the prosecution attempted to prove James Chances lied about when and where he drove that day while transporting Young’s remains and the tools used in her dismemberment.
Jurors then heard a recording of the December 2018 police interview during which authorities allege James Chance perjured himself.
Also during that interview, James Chance told a detective that his son should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“I took him to the PD,” he told investigators. “You missed an opportunity.”
On Tuesday, jurors heard opening statements from the prosecution and defense. Prosecutors said James Chance chose not to tell police what happened and later lie to investigators, while the defense said he was just doing the best he could in a difficult situation.
Testimony could wrap up Thursday and closing arguments may happen Friday, after which the case will go to the jury for deliberation.
Jared Chance is already serving a 100- to 200-year sentence for Young’s murder. If convicted of perjury, his father could spend the rest of his life in prison, too.
James Chance’s wife Barbara Chance is expected to spend no more than a year in jail after pleading no contest Monday to perjury and accessory charges.
—News 8’s Barton Deiters contributed to this report.