Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Rick Chance

A String of Failures

The first public failure was an eerie dress rehearsal for his murder. It occurred almost a decade before he was slain and caused his second marriage to publicly combust (His first marriage was a failed post-high school romance). Chance was dabbling in the jewelry business in 1993 and invited a woman he had met at the toney Phoenician resort back to his home to view his designs. She turned out to be a prostitute and not only did the woman look at the jewels, she drugged Chance and stole his inventory. The loss of several hundred thousand dollars in jewelry by the already famous TV pitchman made front page news and humiliated Chance's born-again Christian wife, Christine.

In addition, Christine complained that Chance was consumed with building his business and had little time left for her and their two children, Chazz and Stephanie.

"He is wasteful and frivolous and spends 60 hours per week in work and work-related activities," she wrote in her divorce petition.

When the couple separated after Chance's ill-fated run-in with the larcenous prostitute, Christine Chance took the children with her to Denver. He countersued in divorce court that Christine was physically unable to care for the children and that she had taken them out of state to prevent him from seeing them. The divorce was settled with joint custody of Chazz and Stephanie, and Chance signed over control of the Denver franchise of Empire Glass to Christine.

Chance's third marriage was a metaphor for his life a fairy tale that served as cover for a soap opera existence. Jill Scott was a former Mrs. America and she had the look of a beauty queen. Jill was a green-eyed beauty with a big smile, big hair and even bigger secrets. She and Chance enjoyed a whirlwind romance and were married on Valentine's Day 1996 before a national audience on "Good Morning, America."

It wasn't long before the veneer rubbed off the fairy tale and the soap opera took over. Stories about Jill surfaced within weeks of the marriage. She had not been in compliance with Mrs. America pageant rules when she won she was separated from her husband and its organizers were suing her for breach of contract. The pageant eventually won $100,000 from her.

Further, Jill had agreed to perform in a porno movie, "Mrs. XXX-America" shortly before she met Chance a secret she withheld from her husband. Chance filed for an annulment in June 1996, halted it a week later and filed again in 1998. Of course, the couple played out the divorce in the media and the people of the Southwest ate it up.

She was a gold-digger who hid the fact that she'd had plastic surgery, he claimed. He was a "religious kook" who repeatedly chanted the same prayer over and over, she fired back.

The publicity over the divorce sent the tabloids digging, and soon the National Enquirer entered the fray with the story of how Jill Scott used $100,000 of her ex-husband George's money to get plastic surgery to win the Mrs. America crown.

While Jill was living with Chance, she had two bounty hunters pick up her first husband for failing to pay child support and they brought him to San Diego in handcuffs. The judge immediately ordered George released and he successfully sued her for false imprisonment and was awarded $450,000.

Rick Chance's divorce from Jill Scott was formalized in 1999.

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