Jurors Begin Deliberations In Retrial Of A Sex Offender Accused Of Killing A 6-Year-Old Tucson Girl

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A Tuscon jury began deliberating Tuesday on a murder charge in the retrial of a man who already is serving a life sentence for killing a child in a separate case.

Pima County Superior Court officials said the jury got the case after lawyers on both sides gave closing arguments. Jurors stopped at the end of the day and were to resume deliberations at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Christopher Clements, 42, already is serving a life sentence for the 2014 death of another Tucson girl — 13-year-old Maribel Gonzalez.

He was retried after a Pima County Superior Court jury couldn’t reach a verdict last year on the first-degree murder charge against Clements in the death of 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

A mistrial was declared last March and the retrial started Feb. 7 in front of a different jury.

Prosecutors said Clements has a long criminal history that includes sex crimes in several states dating back to when he was 16.

Celis vanished from her parents’ home in April 2012.

Authorities said Clements became a suspect in 2017 when he told the FBI he could lead investigators to Celis’ remains in return for having unrelated charges dropped.

At the time, Clements said he simply knew the location of the girl’s remains but had nothing to do with her death.

Clements was sentenced to natural life in prison in 2022 for the kidnapping and killing of Gonzalez, who disappeared in June 2014 while walking to a friend’s house.

Her body was found days later in a remote desert area north of Tucson.

Authorities said the Gonzalez case included evidence that her body showed a partial DNA match to Clements, but Celis’ remains were so degraded that the first trial didn’t include any claim of a match to the defendant.

Clements was arrested in 2018 and indicted on 22 felony counts in connection with the deaths of the two Tucson girls.