Justin Rey, who put his dismembered wife in cooler, demands new judge at sentencing
Justin Rey, the man who was found at a Lenexa storage facility in 2017 with his children and his wife’s dismembered body, is asking for a new judge after he was convicted of child endangerment and other charges earlier this year.
Rey, 37, was found guilty at trial in January in Johnson County District Court on charges of child endangerment, contributing to a child’s misconduct and sexual exploitation of a child.
He was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday. Rey appeared in court with an attorney, Scott Toth.
Toth was Rey’s defense attorney at trial, but on Wednesday Toth appeared as a standby counsel while Rey spoke for himself in front of the judge.
After the jury handed up the verdict earlier this year, Toth said, Rey filed a motion to recuse Judge Brenda Cameron and a motion to disqualify Toth from representing Rey moving forward.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Rey expressed frustration, telling the judge he “hasn’t had a chance to speak” and demanding the court to take Toth off his case.
The judge told Rey she won’t recuse herself, and the case was continued after Rey told the court he would file paperwork for a change of judge. The next hearing is scheduled April 8.
Toth told reporters after the hearing that while the sentencing has been delayed, Rey “certainly has a right” to make the request.
“Very clearly, Mr. Rey feels like he’s being treated unfairly by all the parties involved in this case and he certainly has a right to feel that way,” Toth said. “Our system is designed to address those types of concerns, and to a certain extent, give him an opportunity to have his feelings heard in the interest of justice and fairness to him.”
The case has been ongoing since October 2017 when Rey was arrested after someone called Lenexa police to report that a man was staying at a storage unit with two small children.
When police talked to Rey, he had his 2-year-old and newborn daughters with him.
At the storage unit police found human body parts inside several storage containers.
Rey told police that his wife had died a few days earlier after giving birth in a Kansas City hotel room. He said that he dismembered the body so he could take her back to Arizona for burial.
Rey has denied that he and the children were sleeping in the storage unit. He said they were there to pack for the trip to Arizona.
The child exploitation charges involved child pornography found on Rey’s phone after he was arrested.
Rey testified at trial, but defense attorney Toth only asked questions about the child pornography, which prevented Assistant District Attorney Sarah Hill from questioning him about the children and what happened to his wife.
Rey was initially charged with felony counts of aggravated child endangerment, but the jury found him guilty of the lesser misdemeanors of child endangerment.
Aside from the charges filed in Johnson County, Rey is also charged in Jackson County with abandonment of a corpse.
In a separate case, Rey has been charged with murder in California in connection with the disappearance of a Palm Springs man.