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Judge orders evidentiary hearing for Rector after guilty plea withdrawn

Justin James Rector is accused of murdering 8-year-old Isabella Grogan-Cannella in 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Justin James Rector is accused of murdering 8-year-old Isabella Grogan-Cannella in 2014. (Courtesy photo)

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) — A March 4 evidentiary hearing has been set for a man awaiting sentencing in the death of an 8-year-old Bullhead City girl.

At a hearing Monday in Kingman, a Mohave County Superior Court judge vacated the judgment and sentencing of Justin James Rector that were scheduled for Jan. 30.

The 30-year-old Rector pleaded guilty in December to first-degree murder after deciding to represent himself in the case, but now wants to withdraw his plea.

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

The hearing will deal with Rector’s motion.

Under the plea agreement, Rector faces life in prison for the killing of Isabella Grogan-Cannella.

She was found strangled in a shallow grave near her home in September 2014.

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