GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The fate of the 30-year-old man charged with the murder and dismemberment of Ashley Young is now in the hands of the jury.
Jared Chance is accused of killing Young, a 31-year-old Kalamazoo woman, last November. Young's exact cause of death is unknown as investigators never recovered her head.
Grand Rapids Police were called to Chance's rental home at 922 Franklin Street SE on Sunday, Dec. 2, after his neighbor found a bloody tarp in the basement.
Young's torso, legs and arms were all found at Chance's home. Her hands and feet, along with her head, remain missing. Police say they believe Chance threw them in a trash bin.
Chance was offered a plea deal a week ago, but he rejected it on Monday, sending the case to trial. Testimony got underway on Tuesday, with more than 20 prosecution witnesses testifying over the next few days.
Those witnesses included Young's mother, Kristine, who 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’s 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. "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 investigators 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.
Chance is charged with second-degree murder, tampering with evidence, mutilation of a dead body and concealing the death of an individual.
Because of Chance's prior felony convictions, sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder call for a minimum term of between 26¼ and 87½ years in prison.
If Chance is found guilty, Kent County Circuit Court Judge Mark Trusock will set the maximum sentence.
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