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Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
12:59 PM Thu, Oct. 18th

Murder in Mohave County

Left to right: Buddy O'Brian Wallace, David Allen James, Joshua Matthew McCoy, Victor Steven Empie

Left to right: Buddy O'Brian Wallace, David Allen James, Joshua Matthew McCoy, Victor Steven Empie

KINGMAN – While the Justin Rector case has captured most of the attention, there are four other murder cases pending in Superior Court in Mohave County.

Rector is accused of molesting and killing 8-year-old Bella Grogan-Cannella two years ago in Bullhead City. His trial is set for May, and the prosecution is seeking the death penalty.

A look at the other pending murder cases:

Buddy O’Brian Wallace

Buddy O’Brian Wallace, 25, of Yucca, facing a first-degree murder charge in the stabbing death of an elderly man in Yucca in October of 2015, will begin his trial at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 4 in Mohave County Superior Court.

Prosecutors offered Wallace a deal to plead guilty to second-degree murder with a maximum sentence of 25 years.

In exchange, the state would drop the first-degree murder charge in the death of Charles John McCarty, a crime to which Wallace allegedly admitted committing upon his arrest, four days after the killing.

Wallace opted for the trial and now faces a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison if found guilty of first-degree murder.

David Allen James

Kingman Police Department initially thought Matthew Scott Porter died of an accidental drug overdose in May. But an autopsy showed the 23-year-old Kingman man was murdered at a home in the 500 block of Windsor Avenue.

David Allen James, 33, also known as “Critter,” was arrested shortly afterward in the beating death of Porter, authorities said. The incident occurred one week after James was released from an Arizona prison after serving eight years on a dangerous drug conviction.

James will have a case management conference at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Superior Court. He is charged with second-degree murder with special circumstances. Prosecutors say he killed Porter while assisting a criminal street gang.

Joshua Matthew McCoy

Kingman Police say Joshua Matthew McCoy used a hatchet to kill Gregory Thomas Godsil during a fight at McCoy’s home in the 3100 block of Prescott Street in July of 2015.

McCoy’s girlfriend called Kingman Police to report the man, identified as Gregory Thomas Godsil, a transient, was killed during a fight at the couple’s home. Detectives obtained a search warrant and say they found Godsil’s body encased in plastic in the garage.

McCoy reportedly told deputies he was in the process of digging a hole in his backyard in which to bury the man. The couple agreed to let Godsil stay at their home after he was kicked out of a local homeless shelter.

McCoy will be back in Superior Court for a status conference Sept. 19 at 4 p.m.

Victor Steven Empie

Empie, 61, of Meadview, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 66-year-old John Hewett Payne, 61, and the attempted first-degree murder of Payne’s wife, 61. They were neighbors.

Mohave County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 4000 block of Gladiola Drive on April 8 and found Payne lying dead in his doorway. He had been shot in the abdomen.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Trish Carter said Payne and his wife were jarred awake after Empie allegedly drove his Ford pickup into their RV, which was knocked off its jacks.

“As Payne opened his front door, Empie was standing there with a firearm and shot Payne,” said Carter. “Payne had an ongoing dispute with his neighbors.”

Carter said Empie surrendered and “provided statements that led to his arrest.”

Empie will be in Superior Court at 11 a.m. Sept. 15 for a case management conference.