To Kill Or Not To Kill in Pima County

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” – George Orwell

Last October, after twenty-four years in office, Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall announced her retirement. She will not be seeking a 7th term, but has instead endorsed her Chief Criminal Deputy, Jonathan Mosher, as her chosen successor. Mr. Mosher’s platform includes his stated intention to,

Stop seeking the death penalty, which is applied arbitrarily, does not deter criminals, costs a fortune, and subjects victims to decades of torturous appeals.”

This is a curious position for a person who, as we speak, is actively trying to execute a man.

The kidnapping and murder of  Isabel Mercedes Celis is one of the most notorious crimes in modern Tucson history.  Six-year-old Isabel disappeared from her home April 21, 2012, sparking a massive investigation that involved hundreds of law enforcement officers and, at various points, swept up multiple suspects later cleared of wrongdoing. Six years later, in September, 2018, Christopher Matthew Clements was indicted for the murder of Celis and the murder of a second child, thirteen-year-old Maribel Gonzalez. Five months after that the Pima County Attorney filed a notice of their intent to seek the death penalty against Mr. Clements.

Jonathan Mosher death penalty



Jonathan Mosher death penalty

Mr. Mosher, who is now running for the Democratic nomination for Pima County Attorney on a platform which includes abolishing the death penalty, signed the death notice less than one year ago.

Jonathan Mosher death penalty

Mr. Mosher continues his efforts to execute Mr. Clements to this day.

Also running for the Democratic nomination for Pima County Attorney in 2020 are Mark Diebolt, another violent crimes prosecutor in the Pima County Attorney’s Office, and Laura Conover, a criminal lawyer and life-long opponent of the death penalty.

– Joel Feinman