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Romeo — A man charged with killing a 14-year-old girl as she walked her dog on the Macomb Orchard Trail has a new lawyer.

The lawyer representing 32-year-old James VanCallis asked to be replaced at a hearing earlier this month in 42nd District Court in Romeo. Azhar Sheikh has been selected by the court to represent VanCallis, the Times Herald of Port Huron reported.

Authorities say VanCallis hit April Millsap with a motorcycle helmet and stomped on her July 24. They say the man from Goodells in St. Clair County was planning to rape her but a witness interrupted him.

VanCallis is charged with first-degree murder and assault with intent to rape. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Dec. 15 and 16.

VanCallis and his father, James Bernard VanCallis, 66, were arrested July 30 on drug charges related to a pot-growing operation at their home.

On Oct. 20 both pleaded guilty to manufacturing marijuana.

VanCallis faces three charges: first-degree premeditated murder and felony murder, both of which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, and assault with the intent to commit sexual penetration.

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