A man who allegedly kidnapped and murdered two young Arizona girls before discarding their remains in the desert is scheduled to face a jury this week in the first of two prosecutions related to the slayings, the Associated Press reports.
On Tuesday, the first trial of 40-year-old Christopher Clements is expected to begin in Pima County Superior Court in Tucson.
Clements is collectively facing 22 felony charges, including two counts of first-degree murder and kidnapping for allegedly killing 6-year-old Isabel Celis (pictured right) and 13-year-old Maribel Gonzales (pictured left).
As Crime Online reported previously, Celis disappeared in 2012 after she was at her parents’ home in Tucson; she was last seen by her family in her bedroom. Her father later found her window open and the screen pushed to the side. A neighbor told police that she heard a male’s voice outside of the home at around 6:30 a.m. on the morning of the abduction.
Gonzales vanished in 2014 as she was walking to a friend’s home.
Within days of her disappearance, Gonzales’ naked body was found covered by two tires under a mesquite tree. Celis’ skeletal remains were not located until Clements led authorities to a remote location in 2017.
Clements is presently serving a prison term of up to 35 years behind bars for a 2017 burglary. In an effort to get some of the burglary charges dropped, he claimed to have information about Celis’ location, which he asserted he knew only from conversations with other prison inmates, KGUN-TV reports.
The state will prosecute the Gonzales case first, and Clements is expected to have another trial in February 2023 with a different jury for the Celis case.
The murder trials have been delayed at least four times for multiple reasons, according to the AP.
Clements reportedly has a lengthy criminal record and was sentenced on the burglary charge in 2021.
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[Featured images via Tucson Police Department]