Camera coverage denied in Bullhead City case

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Justin James Rector By Jennifer Thomas Justin James Rector By Jennifer Thomas
Isabella "Bella" Grogan-Cannella By Mike Gertzman Isabella "Bella" Grogan-Cannella By Mike Gertzman

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) -- A judge is refusing to allow video and photographic cameras in the courtroom during proceedings in the case of a Bullhead City man charged in the disappearance and death of an 8-year-old girl.

Judge Lee Jantzen of Mohave County Superior Court on Tuesday rejected news outlets' request to allow camera coverage of the case of Justin James Rector.

Rector has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, child abuse and abandonment of a body in the death and disappearance of Isabella "Bella" Grogan-Cannella. Her partially clothed body was found Sept. 3, a day after she was reported missing from her Bullhead City home.

Jantzen ruled that allowing cameras would affect the ability to find a fair and impartial jury panel and that logistics of the courtroom in Kingman would make it difficult for the media to avoid showing jurors or juvenile witnesses. Additionally, the judge cited concern for the dignity of the proceedings.

"People act differently" when cameras are present, the judge said.

Attorney Monica Limon-Wynn, representing KVVU-TV of Las Vegas, argued that allowing cameras would keep the public informed. She said one camera could be shared by multiple stations.

Prosecutor Greg McPhillips and defense attorney Harry Moore opposed allowing cameras.

McPhillips said it would be difficult to seat a jury if photographs and video footage of the trial were allowed, while Moore said cameras would incite public sentiment against his client and deprive him of his right to a fair trial.

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Information from: Mohave Valley Daily News, http://www.mohavedailynews.com

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