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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Tuesday began with opening statements in the trial for a father who authorities say tried to help cover up the murder of a 31-year-old woman in Grand Rapids.
As his attorney told the jury that his family’s life was also destroyed by the murder, James Chance wept.
He is charged with perjury and being an accessory after the fact in the mutilation of Ashley Young’s body.
His son, Jared Chance, was previously convicted of murdering and dismembering Young in late 2018.
Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Lawrence Boivin said during his opening statement said James Chance learned what his son did on Dec. 2 after moving some of Young’s body parts between the Grand Rapids house where she died and the family home in Holland.
The family did go to Grand Rapids police headquarters that day, but ultimately left without speaking to a detective. Boivin said James Chance could have spoken up then, but told officers only, “You’re gonna regret letting him go.”
Boivin said James Chance lied about what time and what route the family used in driving between Grand Rapids and Holland transporting Ashley Young’s remains. That, he told the jury, is perjury.
Defense attorney Laura Joyce told the jury that James Chances told his son to face the consequences of his actions and took him to the police department but he wanted an attorney. She said it was Jared Chance who left without talking to police.
She went on to say that James Chance did not intentionally lie to investigators about minor details. She said he did his best to try to get police to act when he learned what his son had done.
The first person on the stand Tuesday morning was a police lieutenant from Rock Island, Illinois, who confirmed that James Chance was a police officer there between 1965 and 1989. He was a detective sergeant investigating major crimes before he retired.
James Chance faces life in prison while his wife Barbara Chance pleaded no contest on Monday the same charges. A judge said Barbara Chance will spend less than a year in jail as long as no other factors arise before her sentencing next month. Young’s family was furious, telling News 8 that the family was not taking responsibility for their actions.
Following jury selection in James Chance’s trial Monday, Judge Paul Denenfeld ruled that graphic photos of Young would not be used in the trial after the defense argued that they prove nothing in regards to the specific charges in question.
Jared Chance is already serving a 100- to 200-year sentence for Young’s murder.