Drug dealer who dismembered man's body with chainsaw after shooting him dead jailed

The man who murdered Auckland man Denver Chance has been jailed for at least 15 years.

Composite image of Denver Chance and Jay Lingman. Source: 1 NEWS

Jay Lingman has been sentenced in the Auckland High Court this morning. He was found guilty of murdering Chance after a three-week trial earlier this year.

Lingman shot Chance in the head three times, before using a chainsaw to fit his body into a chest freezer.

He argued unsuccessfully at trial that he was acting in self defence.

Justice Harland sentenced him to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 15 years and two months.

At the start of the trial, Lingman pleaded guilty to three charges of possession of drugs, including cocaine and MDMA, for supply.

He has been sentenced to one year in prison on those charges, to be served concurrently.

Chance was last seen on 24 February, 2019.

He told friends at his flat in Mairangi Bay that he was popping out and would be back soon, but his body was found two weeks later at a property in Kingseat, south of Auckland.

During the trial, it was the Crown's case that Chance went to visit Lingman at his property for a pre-arranged meeting.

Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes said Chance was standing at the front door to Lingman's house when Lingman shot him from behind after walking out a backdoor and around the side of the house.

Kayes said Lingman fired at least six bullets at Chance using a Ruger 10/22 .22 semi-automatic rifle fitted with a suppressor and three of these bullets hit his head.

Lingman then dragged the body from the front door down to a carport, Kayes said, before purchasing a chest freezer the next day.

He said Lingman used a chainsaw to fit the body in a freezer and left it there until police found it two weeks later.

During the trial, the defence argued both men were drug dealers, and Lingman was acting in self-defence after Chance threatened him with a shotgun over a perceived betrayal.

Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield told the jury there was no dispute that Lingman had shot a number of bullets at Chance, including the three that hit him in the head and killed him.

Mansfield said there was also no dispute that Lingman purchased a chest freezer and used a chainsaw to fit the body in it to cover up what happened.

Lingman gave evidence in his own defence during the trial.

He said Chance asked him if he could store a large quantity of MDMA and cocaine in Lingman's gun safe, located in his shed, while Chance went overseas.

He sold some of the drugs on tick - where a dealer gives product to a trusted customer before being paid later when the drugs had been sold by the middleman - while Chance was away.

Lingman said he intended to replace the drugs he took - but on 24 February 2019, Chance returned to his property unannounced to find his stash had been dipped into.

He said he fired shots as self-defence without knowing where the bullets would go.