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Rector defense wants death penalty removed

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Posted at 6:34 PM, Sep 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-11 21:34:16-04

The man accused of strangling an 8-year-old girl in Bullhead City wants the prosecution to remove the death penalty in his upcoming trial.

Lawyers for Justin James Rector filed a motion Friday in Mohave County Superior Court.

Rector's attorneys say execution by lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment and his constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial will be violated if prosecutors don't take the death penalty off the table.

County Attorney Matt Smith has already said he'll seek the death penalty if Rector is convicted.

The 27-year-old Rector is scheduled to stand trial in October 2016.

Rector is charged with first-degree murder stemming from the September 2014 strangulation of Isabella "Bella" Grogan-Canella. Her body was found in a shallow grave near her home in Bullhead City.