GRAND RAPIDS — A jury on Friday found 30-year-old Jared Chance guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a former Grand Haven woman, whose partial remains were found beneath a tarp and in a box at Chance's Grand Rapids home.
Family members of 31-year-old Ashley Young embraced as the verdicts were read at about 3:10 p.m.
Chance, who has been jailed since his arrest in early December 2018, faces up to life in prison when he returns to Kent County Circuit Court for sentencing on Oct. 10.
On Monday, Chance rejected a plea deal that called for a minimum prison term of 31 years, which represents Young's age at the time of her death.
In addition to second-degree murder, Kent County jurors found Chance guilty of tampering with evidence, mutilation of a dead body and concealing the death of an individual.
Young's exact cause of death is unknown as investigators have never recovered her head. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide by undetermined means.
Because of Chance's prior felony convictions, sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder call for a minimum term of between 26 and 87 years in prison. Judge Mark Trusock will set the maximum sentence.
The death of Ashley Young garnered national attention due to the macabre circumstances. The Kalamazoo County woman was last seen alive Nov. 28, 2018, and her remains were discovered four days later.
Grand Rapids police were called to Chance's rental home at 922 Franklin St. SE on Dec. 2, after his neighbor found a bloody tarp in the basement. Young's torso was found beneath the tarp. Police recovered her arms and legs from a cardboard box on a stairway landing.
The victim's hands, feet and head have not been recovered. Police say they believe Chance threw them in a trash bin.
After Chance rejected the plea deal on Monday, jury selection got underway and was completed by early afternoon. Testimony began Tuesday, with more than 20 prosecution witnesses taking the stand over the next few days. Those witnesses included Young's mother, Kristine, who lives in Grand Haven.
Kristine said she contacted Chance when she didn't hear from her daughter. In their conversations, the prosecution alleges that Chance told Kristine a series of lies about where her daughter may be.
“How cruel is this man that he continues to lie to the mother of the person he killed? He’s giving her a carrot of hope that (Ashley's) alive," Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Lawrence Boivin said during closing statements Friday morning. "But she’s not. She’s dead. And he’s been mutilating her. And sawing her limbs off.’’
Defense attorney Andrew Rodenhouse told jurors that police rushed the investigation, leaving out key suspects.
“There were multiple other people who were potentially involved, but nobody bothered to take a DNA swab to at least exclude them," Rodenhouse told jurors in his closing statements on Friday.
Rodenhouse said there is zero evidence that his client committed the murder.