Mohave County is contracting with the same Phoenix attorney to handle two local death penalty cases. Gerald Gavin will work both cases for $100 per hour.

“Having Mr. Gavin serve as first chair in both matters will not only be beneficial for his clients, but will also allow Mohave County to be as cost efficient as possible with the limited resources we have,” said Indigent Defense Administrator Blake Schritter.

Gavin was retained in early  March to represent Justin Rector, a 26-year old who is charged in the asphyxiation murder of his friend’s eight-year-old daughter in Bullhead City last September. Gavin was hired May 15 to handle the retrial of Darrell Ketchner, 57.

Gavin said the cases are running on different tracks because it’s a first-time prosecution of Rector. The Ketchner matter, however, is a retrial after the Kingman man’s conviction and death sentence was overturned for a legal technicality.

Ketchner is charged in the July 2009 murder of 18-year-old Ariel Allison and the attempted murder of the teen’s mother Jennifer Allison.

Gavin said he’ll handle only a handful of other cases while representing Rector and Ketchner.

“These two cases are going to absorb my life for the next two years,” Gavin said. He said he won’t be overwhelmed and that its common for some defense attorneys to specialize in capital case work.

“This is not uncommon in the state,” Gavin said. “Down in Phoenix, most of the death penalty lawyers have at least two cases.”