April 16, 2024

Former NBA player Chance Comanche has admitted to working with his girlfriend to strangle a woman to death in Las Vegas earlier this month, according to authorities and court documents.

The former Beverly Hills High basketball star admitted to Las Vegas homicide detectives that he conspired with Sakari Harnden to kill Marayna Rodgers in the early hours of Dec. 6, a court filing said.

Comanche, 27, who played briefly for the Sacramento Kings in October and Portland Trail Blazers in April, was playing for the Stockton Kings of the NBA G League at the time of the killing. The team was in Las Vegas for a game the night of Dec. 5, and the court filing alleges that he and Harnden planned the killing days earlier through numerous text messages — some including emojis of a gun, a ghost and a coffin.

After they were unable to find someone to kill Rodgers for $3,000, Comanche and Harnden, 19, decided to carry out the killing themselves, the filing said. In a text message to Harnden on Dec. 4, Comanche wrote, “If you get a nice little thick piece of rope or sum sturdy I can do it from the back seat. Like how killers do it in the movies.”

According to the court filing, Harnden and Rodgers, 23, were prostitutes and acquaintances who had argued over a Rolex watch and the fact that Rodgers had revealed to others that Harnden had cooperated with police about a boyfriend’s involvement in a double homicide in Stockton earlier this year. The boyfriend, Iosua Sataua, was arrested in May along with a 16-year-old boy in the case.

The night of the killing in Las Vegas, Harnden told Rodgers that Comanche was a trick who was into kinky sex and wanted to tie them up and have sex with both of them, according to the court filing. Rodgers agreed, and while sitting in the front passenger seat of Harnden’s Mercedes-Benz willingly allowed Harnden to tie her hands together with zip ties, the filing said.

Comanche told detectives that he strangled Rodgers with an HDMI cord from the backseat and that Harnden strangled her with both hands around her neck, the filing said.

“Chance made reference to fluid coming out of Marayna’s mouth, which caused them to believe Marayna was dead,” the filing said.

Comanche and Harnden placed Rodgers’ body in a ditch and covered it with rocks, according to the court filing. The next morning Comanche boarded the team bus headed for the airport.

Las Vegas homicide detectives interviewed Comanche in Stockton on Friday. The court filing said he confessed to the killing and told detectives where Rodgers’ body was located.

A criminal complaint filed in Las Vegas court on Monday charged Comanche and Harnden with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Comanche appeared in a Sacramento County court on Tuesday and waived his extradition, meaning Las Vegas police will have 30 days to take him to Nevada.

In 2015, Comanche, a 6-foot-10 center, led Beverly Hills to its first CIF Southern Section championship since 1969, averaging 20 points and 16 rebounds a game. He chose Arizona over offers from Louisville and Gonzaga, and in two seasons averaged 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds a game.

Comanche declared for the 2017 NBA draft, forgoing the remaining two years of his college eligibility, but was not selected. Since then he’s bounced around the G League and in 2021 played for a professional team in Turkey.

The Trail Blazers signed Comanche to a 10-day contract in April and he appeared in one game, scoring seven points. He wasn’t re-signed but landed with the Sacramento Kings on a 10-day contract in October. The Stockton Kings released him shortly after his arrest.

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