Phoenix man found not guilty of murdering ex-girlfriend Kiera Bergman
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Four years after a Phoenix woman was found dead in the desert, her ex-boyfriend accused of killing her learned his fate. Jon Christopher Clark was found not guilty on Thursday of second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in the death of his ex-girlfriend Kiera Bergman. The jury announced the decision just after 5 p.m. Bergman’s family was shocked by the verdict and visibly heartbroken. But it was a sigh of relief for Clark and his team. Clark was seen hugging his lawyers after the verdicts.
Prosecutors claim Clark killed Bergman and later sent text messages from her phone pretending to be her. In closing arguments Monday, they focused on discrepancies in where Clark said he was versus what phone records show.
On the other side, the defense pointed at the lack of physical evidence, including the fact that Bergman’s cause of death was never determined. Clark’s attorneys said nothing incriminating was ever found in the apartment they shared or in his car. In their closing arguments, attorneys said police should have taken a closer look at other people she was involved with.
After the not guilty verdict, Clark declined to talk to the media as he walked out of the courthouse. But before Thursday’s hearing there was a little bit of drama since it was supposed to be read around 4 p.m. But after 45 minutes of everyone waiting around in the courtroom, Clark was still missing. Eventually, one of his attorneys said he had another court date in the City of Maricopa at 3:30 which is why he was late. By the time he got to Maricopa County Superior Court, he was locked out because it was past 5 p.m. Clark called somebody and got into the courtroom, more than an hour after the verdict was read.
The disappearance of the 19-year-old made national headlines. On Aug. 4, 2018, Clark picked her up from work in west Phoenix, and she wasn’t seen again. Her family and police searched for weeks. Clark told officers that he and Bergman had an argument and that she stormed out of the apartment.
A month later, mountain bikers found her body in the desert. Investigators confirmed through surveillance video she was wearing the same sweatshirt she had on when she left her job for the last time. Clark was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence. After years of complications and changes involving the case, his trial began on Aug. 9.
Prosecutors zeroed in on the digital and circumstantial evidence while the defense focused on how nothing incriminating was found in the couple’s apartment or Clark’s car, including never finding the murder weapon.
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