Jurors on Friday deadlocked on the guilt of an Arizona man accused of kidnapping and murdering 6-year-old Isabel Celis (pictured right) – the second girl he allegedly killed – prompting a judge to declare a mistrial, KOLD-TV reports.
Christopher Clements, 41, was on trial this week on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping a minor under 15, and burglary in connection with Celis’ death.
Celis vanished from her home in April 2012 and her remains were found five years later, only when Clements brought authorities to a remote area north of Tucson, where bones collected were identified as belonging to the child.
The jury began deliberating after lawyers made closing arguments on Wednesday, but jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision. According to the Arizona Republic, the judge presiding over the case declared a mistrial just after 4 p.m. Friday.
Clements had claimed that he was not responsible for Celis’ death and knew the information about her body’s location because of discussions with other inmates.
Last year, Clements was convicted of kidnapping and murdering a different girl, 13-year-old Maribel Gonzalez (pictured left), who went missing while walking in Tucson in June 2014. Her naked body was found buried under tires later that year. Clements was sentenced to life in prison on the first-degree murder charge in addition to 17 years for kidnapping.
At the time Clements was convicted of Gonzalez’s kidnapping and murder, he was already serving a 35-year prison sentence for burglary handed down in 2017.
The Pima County Attorney’s Office said it will retry the case with a different jury, according to KVOA-TV.
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[Featured image: Police Handout]