Discovery process in Grogan-Cannella murder case slow going

Justin James Rector

Justin James Rector

KINGMAN – The discovery process of gathering and sharing evidence in the case of accused murderer Justin James Rector is ongoing, and attorneys for both sides on Friday said the case is moving forward.

Greg McPhillips, Mohave County prosecutor, said he’s working on getting copies of audio interviews with Rector to the defense counsel, which has changed three times since the case began in 2014. Quinn Jolly took over as lead defense counsel for Rector in September after Phillip Gavin withdrew from the case because of conflict of interest.

Rector is charged with the Sept. 2, 2014, kidnap, murder and sexual assault of 8-year-old Bella Grogan-Cannella of Bullhead City. Her body was found in a shallow grave near Walmart.

McPhillips said he has been in communication with defense counsel, “which is new to me,” he said. “I feel we’re going forward with the matter.”

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen set the next hearing for 11 a.m. on Jan. 19.

“It’s hard to imagine we’re moving this case into 2018 with no end in sight,” the judge said. “But I know Mr. McPhillips is working hard to get the audio interviews.”

Jantzen noted that motions filed in Rector’s case are “getting kind of thick,” and he wants to clear out any outstanding motions. “I want you to do everything to get this case moving forward and go to trial,” he said.