GRAND RAPIDS — The jury trial for Jared Chance began Tuesday morning after the accused killer turned down a plea deal Monday.
Chance, 30, is suspected in the November 2018 death of 31-year-old Ashley Young, Grand Haven High School graduate.
Chance's downstairs neighbor at a rental home on Franklin Street SE told police he had smelled something rotting before he found a blood-covered tarp in the basement last December. Grand Rapids police found Young’s torso wrapped in the tarp. Her arms and legs were found in a cardboard box on a stairway landing. The box had the defendant's name and address on it.
Young's head, hands and feet have still not been found. Chance would have had to explain what happened to Young's body had he taken the plea deal, which would have also put him behind bars for a minimum of 31 years.
Chance now faces a second degree murder charge namely due to the fact that investigators could not prove the cause of death without Young's missing body parts. Chance also faces charges related to tampering with evidence and the mutilation and dismemberment of a body. He's being charged as a repeat offender due to prior felony convictions. Because of those prior felony convictions, sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder call for a minimum term of between 26¼ and 87½ years in prison.
Defense Attorney Andy Rodenhouse requested the jury be instructed on involuntary manslaughter from the start, but Judge Mark Trusock is saying no to that at this point.
The prosecution has said they will bring 26 witnesses and more than 260 exhibits before the jury. Jurors will hear from witnesses like a medical examiner, Young's mother, Chance's neighbor and Chance's brother. The jury is made up of three men and 11 women; two of the jurors will be released ahead of deliberation.