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Man who pleaded guilty in girl's death wants to change plea

Posted at 12:54 PM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 14:54:46-05

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) - A man awaiting sentencing in the death of an 8-year-old Bullhead City girl says he wants to withdraw his plea.

Justin James Rector had pleaded guilty in December to first-degree murder after deciding to represent himself in the case. Authorities say Isabella Grogan-Cannella had been strangled in September 2014.

Rector wrote a brief note to the judge saying the plea agreement was unjust and wants a chance to explain.

A hearing is scheduled Monday in Kingman. The judge also will take up his request to delay the Jan. 30 sentencing date.

Under the plea agreement, Rector faces life in prison.

The 30-year-old Rector had been a guest in Isabella's home when she was reported missing. Her body was found in a shallow grave nearby.