Former NBA G League player Chance Comanche has been arrested and accused of kidnapping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in the Las Vegas area earlier this month.
Background on Chance Comanche and His Basketball Career
Chance Comanche is a 24-year-old former basketball player who most recently competed for the NBA G League’s Stockton Kings. He previously played college basketball for the University of Arizona from 2016-2017 before transferring to play professionally overseas and in the G League.
At Arizona, Comanche averaged 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore before electing to turn pro. He went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft but latched on with the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate, in 2019.
Over four seasons split between the Hustle and the Stockton Kings, Comanche averaged 8.3 points and 5.8 rebounds over 128 career G League games. He was considered an athletic big man with defensive potential, but never cracked an NBA roster.
Details Emerge on Alleged Premeditated Murder Plot
According to court documents and police statements, Comanche and his ex-girlfriend Sakari Harnden plotted to lure victim Marayna Rodgers to the Las Vegas area by scheduling a paid sexual encounter. Once the victim arrived at Harnden’s apartment on December 12th, she was attacked and strangled to death.
After the alleged murder, Comanche and Harnden transported Rodgers’ body over 100 miles away to the desert area west of Lake Mead. They buried the victim in a shallow grave, where police later found her with visible strangulation marks after she was reported missing by family several days later.
Further investigation of text messages and internet records revealed that Comanche and Harnden had thoroughly planned out their plot in advance. They researched remote grave sites, purchased shovels and other supplies at Home Depot, and laid out their roles in the kidnapping and murder.
Comanche even continued communicating with Harnden to coordinate their stories while he was on a road trip playing games with the Stockton Kings at the time of the murder.
Confession and Court Documents Detail Grisly Plot
After his December 16th arrest by the FBI, Comanche admitted to strangling Marayna Rodgers during a police interview. His confession lines up with the evidence found on his and Harnden’s digital communications.
Some further disturbing details about the murder plot came out in Comanche’s confession and the available court documents:
Comanche admitted that he strangled Rodgers for “five minutes” until she stopped moving. Harnden then helped place the body in her car for transportation.
The plot was likely motivated by jealousy and financial gain, as Comanche suspected Rodgers of maintaining ties with other men. rodgers was known to exchange money and gifts with older men she met online.
Comanche arrived in the Las Vegas area days before the murder, likely to prepare their vehicle, purchase supplies, and scout their desert grave site.
Harnden created online escort advertisements under a false name to lure Rodgers to her apartment. She scheduled an encounter knowing their history for exchanging gifts and money.
In addition to strangling her, the suspects may have slashed Rodgers’ leg to prevent her from fleeing. She also possibly sustained blunt force trauma injuries during the assault.
Comanche and Harnden Charged With Murder, Kidnapping
Both Chance Comanche and Sakari Harnden are being detained at the Clark County Detention Center on a charge of murder with a deadly weapon and first degree kidnapping resulting in substantial harm.
Prosecutors may consider adding a sexual assault charge, as the online escort ads and promise of payment imply felony coercion was used to lure rodgers. However, detectives found no evidence suggesting a sexual assault occurred during their investigation.
As of now, Comanche and Harnden are scheduled to appear in Las Vegas Justice Court for a preliminary hearing on December 27th. They could face life in prison without parole or even the death penalty if convicted on the murder and kidnapping charges.
What Comes Next in This Disturbing Case
The sudden downfall of Chance Comanche from professional athlete to murder suspect in a grisly, premeditated crime has shocked those close to him and the greater basketball community.
As prosecutors work to bring the case to trial, some key next steps include:
- Further analysis of digital communications and metadata to solidify the sequence of events and culpability of both suspects
- Additional search efforts to determine if any physical evidence remains in Harnden’s apartment, Comanche’s vehicle, or the desert gravesite
- Interviews with Comanche, Harnden, and their relatives and partners to understand any additional motivations or circumstances surrounding the crime
- Mental health evaluations of both suspects to aid prosecutors and defense lawyers in potential insanity pleas or sentencing recommendations
The deeply disturbing details and apparent premeditation of Marayna Rodgers’ murder have saddened both her family and broader communities in Las Vegas and Lynnwood, Washington where she was from. Prosecutors will work diligently to bring justice while respecting her memory, as Comanche and Harnden face intense scrutiny regarding their plot and despicable alleged acts of violence towards an innocent young woman.
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