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Prosecutors won't seek death penalty now in Bullhead City child murder

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Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 19:48:52-05

State prosecutors say they're no longer seeking the death penalty for a man charged with killing an 8-year-old girl in Bullhead City in 2014.

In paperwork filed Thursday in Mohave County Superior Court, prosecutors withdrew their notice to seek the death penalty for Justin James Rector but say they still intend to seek a first-degree murder conviction at his trial.

Prosecutors say "there's no reasonable likelihood of the death penalty actually being imposed in a realistic and efficient timeframe given the current state of affairs surrounding people sentenced to death."

Rector is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, child abuse and abandonment of a dead body in the September 2014 death of Isabella "Bella" Grogan-Cannella.

The girl's partially clothed body was found in a shallow grave near her Bullhead City home.