Ex-boyfriend charged with first-degree murder in 19-year-old’s death
PHOENIX — The ex-boyfriend of a 19-year-old woman who was found dead in Buckeye last week after going missing in Phoenix last month has been charged with her murder.
Jon Christopher Clark was formally charged with the first-degree murder of Kiera Bergman on Tuesday night, hours after Phoenix police first recommended the charges.
He was also charged with improper removal of a body and evidence tampering, court documents showed.
According to ABC15 Arizona, he appeared in front of a judge, who set his bond at $1 million cash.
Bergman, who grew up near San Diego, California, went missing from her home near 51st Avenue and Thunderbird Road on Aug. 4 and was found dead in the area of State Route 85 and Hazen Road on Sept. 3.
A homicide investigation was launched soon after. Authorities have not said how Bergman died.
Court documents released Wednesday detailed a long history of alleged domestic violence at the hands of Clark against Bergman.
The 19-year-old’s unidentified friend and roommate told police that Bergman told them that Clark would “restrain Kiera by placing one had against her upper chest and throat.”
That same friend also told police that they had seen bruising on Bergman “which was caused by Jon during such a domestic abuse” at least once, but added they had never witnessed the physical abuse.
The friend also told police that on Aug. 4, the same day Bergman went missing, the two had a discussion “about the possibility Kiera was pregnant.” Bergman was picked up from work by Clark because she was not feeling well. It would be the last time she was seen in person.
Court documents said Clark told the friend that Bergman “stormed out of the apartment” after getting into an argument over Clark possibly moving to Texas to live with his aunt.
The friend then started receiving text messages from Bergman’s phone that claimed that she was with an unknown guy at his house, but the friend quickly became suspicious because of the formatting of the messages and Clark’s history of accessing her accounts.
“I knew from the few times I interacted with (Clark) … that he was not a good person,” Bergman’s mother, Kiersten Bragg, told a San Diego, California, TV station.
Clark has been in custody since Aug. 17 after he was arrested on suspicion of identity theft. He was booked into jail on 22 counts of aggravated identity theft and two counts of forgery after police found other individuals’ personal identifications in his vehicle.
Clark will appear in court next on Sept. 18 in Phoenix.