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'This was not an accident': Trial starts for Valley man accused of killing ex-girlfriend in 2018

The 19-year-old's body was found four years ago in the West Valley after she had been reported missing.

PHOENIX — With jury selection complete, the trial for a Valley man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend is underway. 

In September 2018, 19-year-old Kiera Bergman's body was found on the side of a West Valley road. Now, four years later, the trial for her murder has officially begun in Maricopa County Superior Court.

At the center of the trial is the victim's on-and-off-again boyfriend, Jon Christopher Clark, who was allegedly the last person to see Bergman.

Clark is accused of killing her after an argument, then dumping her body near State Route 85 and Hazen Road.

On Tuesday, attorneys presented their opening statements and prosecutors gave a timeline of events including how suspicious activity on Bergman's cell phone after her death allegedly links Clark to the case.

"Kiera was just starting to write a new chapter," said one of the attorneys. "Jon Clark ended it. This was not an accident, this was not a suicide, Jon Clark is the one who ended Kiera's life story."

Credit: courtesy Kiersten Bragg
Kiera Bergman, 19, (Photo courtesy Kiersten Bragg)

Clark's defense lawyers though argue otherwise. They say the state is only presenting possibilities and insisted their client was not responsible for Bergman's murder.

"Jon is cooperating, he's the one who called 911 on the morning of August 6th, he's doing the things you would do to locate a missing person," said his attorney.

Clark sat quietly through the first day of proceedings, including as Bergman's sister testified about the unusual circumstances surrounding her disappearance. 

"From the beginning, I felt uncomfortable by him," the sister said. "Just the way he put himself out there made me very uncomfortable so I would limit what I would say to him."

Clark has previously denied any involvement in Bergman's disappearance. 

"I love Kiera with all my heart and would never do anything negative to her or put her in harm's way," Clark told 12News in 2018.

This trial is expected to last several weeks. Be sure to stay with 12News as we follow the developments ahead.

RELATED: Boyfriend denies involvement in 19-year-old's 'suspicious' disappearance

RELATED: Jon Clark used Kiera Bergman's cell phone to hide her death, Phoenix PD says

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