1st trial begins in Tucson for man accused of killing 2 local girls

Published: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 3:15pm
Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 3:24pm

Tuesday marked the opening day of trial for a man accused of murdering two young girls in Tucson years ago. It’s the first in a pair of trials long awaited by the girls’ families.

Christopher Clements faces first degree murder and kidnapping charges in the deaths of 6-year-old Isabel Celis and 13-year-old Maribel Gonzalez — who went missing in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

The first trial will center on the killing of Maribel, who disappeared after leaving her Tucson home on June 3, 2014. The second trial, addressing Isabel's killing, is set for February.

It’s been almost four years to the day since officials in Pima County announced Clements’ arrest in 2018. He is a convicted sex offender whose criminal history includes incidents in four states over two decades, according to reporting from the Arizona Daily Star.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty. But fulfilling a campaign promise earlier this year, Pima County Attorney Laura Conover announced she would no longer pursue it in Clements’ case or any other. A jury heard opening statements at the Pima County Superior Court in Tucson. The trial is expected to last 14 days.