Man suspected of killing girls switches lawyers

TUCSON, Ariz. - Christopher Clements, who is accused of killing Tucson girls Isabel Ceils and Maribel Gonzales, was assigned new counsel in Pima County Superior Court Thursday.

Eric W. Kessler, a private practice Scottsdale attorney who handles first-degree murder cases, will defend Clements. Tucson attorney Joseph P. DiRoberto will act as second chair.

The defendant was assigned new counsel from Maricopa County, Eric W. Kessler, an attorney in private practice from Scottsdale who handles 1st D Murder cases. Joseph P. DiRoberto, an attorney here in Tucson, will act as second chair. 

Law enforcement officials announced Saturday that Clements, 36, is facing charges in the deaths of Isabel Celis and Maribel Gonzales. Those include two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping a minor, two counts of burglary and 14 separate counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. He's also facing a slew of child pornography-related charges.

He's currently in custody in Pima County Jail. He also faces multiple fraud and burglary charges according to online court records -- but records of his criminal history go back much further.

Clements was charged and convicted in Oregon in 1998 of sex-related crimes and was required to register as a sex offender. He was charged and convicted in 2006 in Bay City, Florida, for failing to register, according to Florida law enforcement records.

He was also charged in 2008 in Tucson with failing to register as a sex offender. He was convicted and sentenced to serve 46 months in prison and five years of supervised release

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that sentence in 2011, finding that the federal law requiring him to register as a sex offender within three days of moving to a new home was passed after his 1998 conviction and therefore did not apply to his crime.

Now, Clements is accused of the murders of both Isabel Celis and Maribel Gonzales.

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus and other officials held a news conference to announce the indictment. They say the FBI in 2017 learned Clements might have information about the death of Celis.

He then provided information to authorities that led to the discovery of Celis' remains, Magnus said. Investigators later discovered additional pieces of evidence, but they did not describe Saturday what they had found.

Christopher Matthew Clements, now 36, was already locked up in Maricopa County on unrelated charges when Tucson Police arrested and charged him there.

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