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Court hearing for man accused of killing Tucson girls could have major impact on the case

Christopher Clements In Court
Christopher Clements In Court
Christopher Clements In Court
Posted at 8:49 AM, Aug 16, 2019

PHOENIX - The man charged with killing 6-year-old Isabel Celis and 13-year-old Maribel Gonzales was in court Friday, but not in Pima County.

Christopher Clements is in Maricopa County fighting over evidence in a different case there, but Friday's hearing can offer insight into crucial evidence in the Pima County murders.

RELATED: Search warrants released for Clements' Maricopa cell; investigators search for connections to Celis

This hearing was mainly about evidence in a burglary case against Christopher Clements but late Friday evidence issues appeared that involve murder charges against Clements in the death of Isabel Celis.

Clements is trying to throw out evidence found in a search of his jail cell in Maricopa County. It mainly involves a burglary case in Maricopa County but there is a Tucson connection. Clements' attorneys in Maricopa are challenging a search that led to authorities looking through a box inmates are allowed to have to keep legal documents away from the eyes of prosecutors.

Corrections officers are allowed to look for contraband like weapons but must ignore legal material. But Maricopa County Attorney Detective Jan Butcher did a search of Clements cell at the request of Tucson Police. They were looking for items that could tie Clements to Isabel Celis murder, including a photo of the Celis family house.

RELATED: Prosecutors to seek death penalty in Clements case

Clements' attorney challenged Detective Butcher for seizing all the contents of Clements legal box, beyond the items called for in the Tucson Warrant.

Detective Butcher stopped short of describing the photos other than to say there were a lot of them in that legal box.

As non-lawyers it’s not clear to us whether this claim that sensitive legal documents were improperly seized creates a problem for Maricopa county’s case or Tucson’s case too. There are still hours of hearings ahead before the Judge in Maricopa County rules and the Tucson case is a separate case to be handled by a Tucson Judge.

RELATED: Court docs: Clements mentioned 2 more bodies to girlfriend