Lemke guilty in '02 murder - East Valley Tribune: News

Lemke guilty in '02 murder

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Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2007 12:40 am | Updated: 7:06 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A former male stripper pleaded guilty Wednesday to murdering Paradise Valley millionaire Rick Chance during a 2002 robbery.

Accepting a plea deal from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Robert Lemke avoided being tried for a second time in the case.

A jury in 2005 could not decide whether he was guilty of murder, instead finding him guilty of theft for stealing Chance’s watch.

For that charge, a county Superior Court judge sentenced him to 27 years in prison.

Lemke will receive life in prison for first-degree murder when he is sentenced Oct. 5, but he will be eligible for parole after 25 years, according to a plea deal reported on the court’s Web site.

Neither the prosecutor’s office nor Lemke’s defense attorney could be reached late Wednesday for comment.

Before his death, Chance was a well-recognized Valley figure who starred in commercials for his auto glass company, Empire Glass.

Chance, 44, was found slain Aug. 9, 2002, in a Tempe hotel room.

A female stripper, Brandi Hungerford, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case and testified against Lemke in the 2005 trial, according to court records.

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