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Trial begins for Phoenix man accused of murdering 19-year-old girlfriend in 2018

Kiera Bergman

Kiera Bergman

Opening statements and witness testimonies began Tuesday in the murder trial of 19-year-old Kiera Bergman, whose body was found west of Phoenix after missing for nearly one month in 2018.

In May 2019, a grand jury indicted Jon-Christopher Clark, Bergman’s boyfriend, on charges of second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Bergman was last seen alive at her apartment near 51st Avenue and Thunderbird Road on Aug. 4, 2018. Her body was found nearly a month later near State Route 85 and Hazen Road on Sept. 3, 2018.

Cause of death was undetermined.

Court records obtained by The Arizona Republic said that Clark and Bergman had fights, and the pair were seen arguing outside of Bergman’s apartment the day before her disappearance.

The family of missing 19-year-old Kiera Bergman held a vigil for her in Phoenix on Aug. 11, 2018.

The family of missing 19-year-old Kiera Bergman held a vigil for her in Phoenix on Aug. 11, 2018.

A judge dismissed the case without prejudice in early 2020, saying that prosecutors mishandled Silent Witness records. When a case is dismissed without prejudice, prosecutors are allowed to refile charges if they decide to do so.

“She had just started to write this new chapter of her life story here in Phoenix, Arizona, when Jon Clark ended it,” the prosecutor was heard saying in a live stream of the trial. “At the end of the trial, we’re still not going to know exactly what happened to Kiara but medical examiners will tell you … their findings and your common sense and all the other witnesses will tell you, that is not an accident. That’s murder.”

Witnesses on trial included Bergman’s younger sister, the landlord to the apartment she was leasing at the time, as well as investigators who worked on the case.

Clark’s defense attorney said he has been “cooperative” with investigators since the very beginning of the case and was the first person to call police when Bergman went missing.

Day two of the trial is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Reach breaking news reporter Haleigh Kochanski at hkochanski@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @HaleighKochans.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Trial begins in 2018 murder of Kiera Bergman



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