ARIZONA NEWS

Judge declares mistrial in Tucson for man charged in girl’s death

Mar 5, 2023, 12:00 PM

(Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Getty Images)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A mistrial was declared after a jury in southern Arizona was unable to reach a verdict on a murder charge against a man accused of killing a 6-year-old girl.

The Arizona Daily Star reports a judge declared the mistrial Friday in the case against Christopher M. Clements, who was charged with murder in the death of Isabel Celis. Isabel was reported missing from her bedroom in her parents’ home in Tucson in April 2012.

In a separate case last year, Clements was sentenced to life in prison for the 2014 death of 13-year-old Maribel Gonzalez.

A different Pima County Superior Court jury heard Clements’ murder trial involving Celis.

Defense attorneys pointed to the lack of physical evidence, with no fingerprints or DNA connecting Clements to Isabel’s disappearance or death.

Prosecutors acknowledged that but called the circumstantial evidence, including Clements’ computer and cellphone records, “overwhelming.”

Clements, a convicted sex offender with a long criminal record, was arrested in 2018 and indicted on 22 felony counts in the girls’ deaths.

Gonzalez disappeared while walking to a friend’s house in June 2014 and authorities said her body was found days later.

Celis’ remains were not recovered until 2017. Authorities said Clements was identified as a suspect in March of that year after he led federal investigators to her remains in exchange for the dropping of unrelated charges.

Clements said he had nothing to do with Celis’ death and he only knew the location of the body, according to authorities.

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Judge declares mistrial in Tucson for man charged in girl’s death