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Cost of Rector defense nears $900,000

November 13, 2018

KINGMAN — The cost to defend a Bullhead City murder suspect is approaching a million dollars and the trial is at least 5-1/2 months away.

Justin James Rector, 30, is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, child abuse and abandonment of a dead body in the 2014 death of 8-year-old Isabella Grogan-Cannella.

Rector is charged in another case with three counts of aggravated assault after he allegedly assaulted a detention officer July 17 in his jail cell.

The cost of Rector’s attorney fees so far for the 2018-19 fiscal year that started July 1 is $5,058 and the investigator costs is $1,395, indigent defense services director Blake Schritter said.

The updated total cost for Rector’s defense over the four years since

Grogan-Cannella’s death is $889,819. The total cost includes $617,052 for all of Rector’s defense attorneys and more than $272,016 for investigative services since the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Investigative services includes defense experts and all non-legal services. Attorney costs include primary and second chair when Rector faced the death penalty. Two death penalty attorneys are required in capital murder cases. Prosecutors took the death penalty off the table in February.

The total cost of Rector’s attorney and investigator fees for the 2017-18 fiscal year was $352,258. His total defense cost for the 2016-17 fiscal year was $329,067. His total defense cost for the 2015-16 fiscal year was $135,303. His defense cost for the 2014-15 fiscal year was $66,486.

Julia Cassels represents Rector in both his criminal cases after his primary attorney, Quinn Jolly, withdrew from the case. Cassels, who was second chair, was assigned to the case in July 2016. Rector’s previous attorney, Gerald Gavin, took the case in March 2015 but withdrew in July 2017. Former chief public defender Harry Moore withdrew from the case in March 2015.

Rector’s next hearing before Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen is set for Nov. 26. His murder trial is set to begin April 29, with a pre-trial hearing set for April 5. Rector is being held in county jail without bond.

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