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State takes death penalty off table in Tucson child murder case

2019-08-23 Clements in Maricopa-1.JPG
Posted at 7:54 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 22:54:55-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Prosecutors will no longer seek the death penalty in the murder trial of Christopher Clements.

Clements is charged with killing 6-year-old Isabel Celis and 13-year-old Maribel Gonzalez.

RELATED STORY: Newly released documents shed light on murders of two young Tucson girls

Celis went missing from her bedroom overnight in April of 2012.

Gonzalez went missing just over two years later, in June of 2014.

Her remains were discovered the week she disappeared.

In March of 2017, Tucson police announced Isabel's remains were found near the same area Maribel's were three years earlier.

At that time police would not reveal what led them to Isabel's remains.

Court documents later showed Clements led investigators to Isabel's remains in exchange for unrelated burglary charges to be dropped.

RELATED STORY: Tucson Child Murders: Clements a suspect more than a year before charges

In September of 2018, Clements was indicted for the murders of Isabel Celis and Maribel Gonzalez.

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Since then, he's been to court several times to argue over which evidence pulled from his Maricopa County jail cell could be used in the trial.

RELATED STORY: Judge to decide what evidence can be used in Tucson child murder trials

Most recently, he asked for his murder charges to be tried separately for each child so he can testify in one trial and not the other.

RELATED STORY: Defense urges separate trials in Tucson child murders

Prosecutors originally said they would seek the death penalty for Clements.

RELATED STORY: Prosecutors to seek death penalty in Clements case

Thursday, the Pima County Attorney's office confirmed to KGUN 9 the state is no longer seeking the death penalty for Clements. That means the steepest penalty he can face now is life in prison.

The attorney's office did not give a reason for dropping the request for the death penalty.