Kiera Bergman case essentially closed after acquittal, says Phoenix attorney

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Double jeopardy prohibits Jon Clark from ever being tried again for Kiera Bergman’s murder.

Spokespersons from the Phoenix Police Department and the Pinal County Attorney’s Office say the agencies strongly believe in the case they built against Clark. Longtime local defense attorney Dwane Cates didn’t work on the case but followed the details of it. “They (police) generally don’t reinvestigate things. Once the trial is over and verdict is in, they just close the file and move on,” Cates said.

Phoenix Police spokesperson Donna Rossi said a homicide case is never technically closed, but they have no one else to pursue right now. “The Phoenix Police Department conducted a thorough and fair investigation, and we stand behind the work we did on this case. While we were hopeful for a different outcome, we respect the decision reached by the jury,” Rossi said in a statement.

Without blood or other DNA or even a cause of death, prosecutors relied on cell phone records and circumstantial evidence to prove Clark killed Bergman and left her body in the Buckeye desert, where she was found a month after her disappearance. “The prosecutors have a really tough job and they have a really high burden to meet,” Cates said.

The jury clearly didn’t believe that burden of proof was met. The jury deliberated for three days before coming back with their ‘not guilty’ verdict on second-degree murder and tampering with evidence charges.

“When you’re talking about a murder case, they expect that there’s some evidence that the person that’s charged with the murder did it. The fact that he picked her up from work that day and was the last person to see her makes him a suspect. It doesn’t make him a defendant,” Cates said.

Clark was arrested shortly after Bergman’s disappearance on felony identity theft and forgery charges. He has yet to stand trial on those counts.

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