AZ Central reported that Jon-Christopher Clark, the Phoenix man arrested for 19-year-old Kiera Bergman's murder, pleaded not guilty today in Maricopa County Court.
Bergman had recently moved from California to be with Clark, her boyfriend, when she disappeared on August 4. Her body was found near a highway west of Phoenix on September 3.
Clark was charged with second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in Bergman's death. Authorities believe he killed Bergman in a domestic dispute, then sent texts from her phone, and withdrew money from her bank account before disposing of her body.
The Post Crescent reported that court records show a history of domestic disputes between Clark and Bergman. One witness told police that they saw bruises on Bergman's body before she disappeared, although they did not observe any abuse. In another instance, an apartment maintenance officer reported that he saw Bergman and Clark fighting in the parking lot outside of her building. She was trying to leave in her car and Clark snatched the keys from her hand.
During a search of Clark's cell phone, police found a text to an unidentified person saying that he was going to "beat Kiera's ass." Police also found a note on Clark's phone, composed the same day as the text, addressed to Kiera's family members. It read, “So to all of Kiera’s family that still wants to look at me negatively, you better have this same energy when Kiera comes home because we will spend the rest of our lives together and I will never forget the way you’re treating me.”
Clark has been held in a Maricopa County jail on $1 million bond. His next court hearing is scheduled for October 17.