kingman court houseThere’s growing tension between attorneys handling the death penalty case involving alleged child killer Justin Rector. The rancor is evident in the tone and tenor of pretrial motions and court hearing discussions in the case against the 26-year-old Bullhead City man accused of murdering his  friend’s eight-year-old daughter last fall.

Prosecutor Greg McPhillips wants the help of Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen in moving the case along. Lead defense counsel, Gerald Gavin, said he doesn’t want to be pushed and doesn’t want to be rushed in the high stakes affair.

“This is a death penalty case your Honor,” Gavin told Jantzen during Wednesday’s hearing in Kingman. “This is not an overdue library book case. They’re trying to kill this man next to me.”

Gavin noted the state has been building its prosecution since just after the murder early last September while he and co-counsel Ron Gilleo didn’t get the assignment until there was a change in defense attorneys on March 9.

Gavin assured Judge Jantzen that the defense is working diligently “to get caught up” as it reviews disclosure including  1,200 pages of police reports and 32 CD’s. McPhillips said he wasn’t trying to rush the defense but wanted to make sure the case proceeds at a pace leading to trial late next year.

Tempers flared during the hearing when Gavin asserted “the state” was responsible for a freedom of information request that led to publicity about potentially incriminating statements Rector made during telephone communications from jail to his father. McPhillips said the county attorney’s office had nothing to do with the Bullhead City Police Department’s compliance with the media request for information.

Judge Jantzen stopped the argument in progress, telling the combatants they were arguing a matter not yet ripe for Court consideration. Rector is held without bond pending his next court appearance on July 15.

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