KINGMAN, Ariz. — A Bullhead City man cried throughout a Friday hearing in Kingman before he was given a life prison term for killing his friend’s 8-year-old daughter nearly five years ago.
Rector told investigators early in the case that he had been up for a couple of days and using methamphetamine when Bella went missing. Her body was found in a makeshift grave about a half-mile from her home in September 2014.
Rector’s father, daughter and two sisters addressed the court, expressing disbelief that he killed Bella. Rector said he wanted to see evidence explaining why and how Bella was killed.
Addressing the court for nearly five minutes, Rector said he knows everyone wants answers but that details won’t change anything.
“I can’t make it better. I can’t bring her back. I’m sorry this happened,” Rector said. “Bella was innocent. Bella didn’t deserve what happened to her.”
Prosecutor Greg McPhillips said not knowing what happened is haunting.
“It is inconceivable to understand why something like this occurred. It is inconceivable that Bella is gone,” McPhillips said. “Even people who don’t know her express tremendous loss.”
A victim’s advocate read into the record a letter from Bella’s grandmother. It was submitted as if written by Bella, speaking in first person while telling the judge things about herself and how she liked to play and sing and smile.
Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen said Arizona law requires him to impose a life prison sentence, and Rector must serve at least 35 years before he is eligible for parole.