A change of venue was requested, given the local notoriety of the case, and the trial was moved one hundred twenty miles south to Santa Clara County. By the time it was all over, a dozen psychiatrists had examined Chase. He admitted to one that he was disturbed about killing his victims and he was afraid they might come for him from the dead. There was no evidence in his admissions that he had ever felt compelled. He simply thought the blood was therapeutic. One psychiatrist found him to be an antisocial personality, not schizophrenic. His thought processes were not disrupted, and he was aware of what he had done and that it was wrong.
On January 2, 1979, the trial began. Chase was charged with six counts of murder. The prosecutor emphasized throughout the trial that Chase had had a choice, and mentioned several times that he had brought rubber gloves with him to the victims homes with the intent of murder. Altogether, there were 250 prosecution exhibits, the strongest of which were Chases gun and Dan Merediths wallet, found in Chases pocket.
The first witness in a trial that stretched across four months was David Wallin, who described the scene of horror he had encountered upon coming home that day. Nearly one hundred witnesses followed him.
Chase then took the stand in his own defense. He looked awful, having dropped in weight to 107 pounds. His eyes were sunken and lusterless. He claimed to have been semi-conscious during the Wallin murder and he described in detail the way he had been mistreated much of his life. He admitted to drinking Wallins blood. He did not recall much about the second series of murders, but knew that he had shot the baby in the head and decapitated it, leaving it in a bucket in the hope of getting more of its blood. He thought the baby was something else, but did not elaborate. He thought that his problems stemmed from his inability to have sex with girls as a teenager and he said he was sorry for the killings.
The defense asked for a verdict of second degree murder, to spare Chase the death penalty, since he was clearly insane and had never been given proper help. Tochterman argued that he was a sexual sadist, a monster who knew what he was doing and who could not be salvaged.
On May 8, 1978, after five hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of six counts of first degree murder.
During the sanity phase, the jury found Chase legally sane after deliberating an hour. It took them four hours to decide that Chase should die in the gas chamber at San Quentin Penitentiary.