- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - A man charged with killing a 14-year-old girl as she walked her dog in southeastern Michigan pleaded guilty to a separate drug charge.

James VanCallis, 32, of Wales Township pleaded guilty to manufacturing marijuana Monday in St. Clair County court, the Times Herald of Port Huron (http://bwne.ws/1wkqbAa ) reported. His 66-year-old father also pleaded guilty to manufacturing marijuana following their arrest in July.

VanCallis was charged Oct. 9 in Macomb County with first-degree murder, felony murder and assault with intent to commit sexual penetration in the July death of April Millsap. He was named a person of interest in the Armada murder case on Aug. 19.

Armada Police Chief Howard Smith has said VanCallis hit Millsap with a motorcycle helmet and stomped on her near a popular Macomb County trail. Smith has also said VanCallis intended to sexually assault her until was interrupted by an eyewitness.

An attorney for VanCallis has said he maintains his innocence in the killing. His mom, Brenda Pupi, said she knows her son didn’t kill Millsap.

“James is a great father; he’s a great kid,” Pupi said. “He wouldn’t do this.”

A preliminary examination related to the murder charges is scheduled for mid-December.

VanCallis and his father will be sentenced on the drug charges in November.

___

Information from: Times Herald, http://www.thetimesherald.com

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