Justin Rey, an Arizona man who a relative says chopped up his wife and placed her in a cooler after she died during or after giving birth, was removed from a Johnson County District courtroom following a rant.
Rey, 35, faces child endangerment charges and appeared Thursday morning for a hearing. During his brief appearance, he likened his trial to O.J. Simpson’s, saying it is garnering nationwide interest.
He also claimed Johnson County authorities did not have jurisdiction to detain him and that his parental, religious and marital rights were being violated. He became exceedingly irate and at one point began yelling in court.
“That’s enough,” the judge said.
“I don’t care if it’s enough because I have my children out there,” he said. “Their mother (Jessica Rey) just killed herself, and you guys are going to kidnap my children, our children.”
The couple had four other children who were removed from their custody by state officials in California and Arizona, according to Jessica Rey’s sister, Rhonda Monteiro.
The judge ordered his removal, and an officer escorted him from the courtroom.
Rey was not represented by an attorney, and at one point said he could not afford legal counsel. He was told a public defender would be assigned to his case.
“You’re the wealthiest county in the United States, and they think they’re going to get away with it. It’s not right. ... You guys kidnapped our children,” he said. “I’m not angry, wrong or in any way mentally unstable.”
His next hearing is set for Nov. 8.
Rey, of Flagstaff, Ariz., was arrested after Lenexa police responded to a report of people sleeping inside a storage unit in the 9200 block of Marshall Drive on Oct. 24. While there, officers found human remains.
Law enforcement officials have not publicly identified the remains, but Rey told police they belonged to his wife, 33-year-old Jessica Monteiro Rey of Visalia, Calif., according to court records. Her sister in California, Rhonda Monteiro, said police told the family that Jessica Rey’s remains were identified by her fingerprints and that her body had been dismembered.
The couple had a 2-year-old and a newborn baby. Monteiro said police told her that Rey gave birth to the newborn in a Kansas City hotel room. She did not know how the couple had arrived in the Kansas City area.
Monteiro thinks that her sister died during or after childbirth and that Justin Rey tried to cover up the death for fear that the two children would be taken away by authorities.
“My sister deserves justice,” Monteiro said. “He could have taken her to a hospital, but he didn’t. Instead, he chopped her up and put her in a cooler.”
Rey is being held on a $1 million bond.