Judge denies venue change for Christopher Clements trial
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A judge has denied a venue change for Christopher Clements’ murder trials.
Court documents filed by Clements’ legal team argued the change due to pretrial publicity deemed presumptively prejudicial that would deprive him of a fair trial.
Clements is accused of killing Isabel Celis and Maribel Victoria Gonzales.
Celis was 6 years old when she vanished from her parents’ east-side home in April 2012. Just two years later, 13-year-old Gonzales disappeared while walking to a friend’s house.
Both girls were found dead near Trico and West Avra Valley roads.
Clements is facing 22 felony charges, including two counts of first-degree murder.
In April 2021, the Pima County Attorney’s Office announced it would not seek the death penalty in the case.
- April 20, 2012: Isabel Mercedes Celis went to bed around 11 p.m.
- April 21, 2012: Family members call 911 around 8 a.m. after they discover Isabel is not in the house.
- April 22, 2012: FBI search dogs arrive from Virginia to aid in the search.
- April 23, 2012: Celis family and 88-CRIME post $6,000 reward.
- June 3, 2014: Maribel Gonzales leaves home to visit a friend.
- June 4, 2014: Gonzales reported missing by her family after she failed to come home.
- June 6, 2014: Gonzales’ body discovered near North Trico and West Avra Valley roads in rural Pima County
- March 2017: Another set of human remains discovered near North Trico and West Avra Valley roads in rural Pima County.
- March 31, 2017: DNA analysis confirms remains are Celis.
- Sept. 15, 2018: Authorities announce indictment of Christopher Matthew Clements in deaths.
- Sept. 24, 2018: Clements pleads not guilty to all charges.
- April 14, 2021: Dates for Clements’ murder trials announced. For Gonzales’ death, the trial begins Jan. 11, 2022, and could last through Jan. 21. For Celis’ death, the trial begins Feb. 22, 2022, and could run through March 11.
- April 21, 2021: Pima County Attorney’s Office announces it will not seek the death penalty in Clements’ case.
- April 30, 2021: Judge rejects change of venue motion.
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