Grand Rapids

Perjury suspect, rape suspect in prison together

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two men arrested in connection to the murder of 16-year-old Mujey Dumbuya will be back in court Tuesday.

Daren Eckford and Gerald Bennett were arrested for lying to investigators.

A detective on the case says that Bennett knows about the murder and may have helped. Detective Case Weston wrote in court documents that he believes that Bennett assisted in the planning or even the execution of the crime.

Bennett is a 58-year-old man from the Detroit area. He has a long criminal history dating back to his teens. When he was 17, he was convicted of rape and robbery after being acquitted in a gang rape at the Cobo Center the year before.

Wednesday, a judge pushed Bennett's preliminary hearing back to April 12 while his attorneys review new evidence that could help in his defense.  

Daren Eckford is also from Detroit. The 50-year-old served prison time with Quinn James for a year in 2008 at Alger Maximum Correctional Facility in the Upper Peninsula.

James is a person of interest in the killing of Dumbuya, an East Kentwood High School student who was found strangled to death in Kalamazoo.

James will soon head to trial for allegedly raping Dumbuya repeatedly last summer. She was set to testify against him before her death in January.

His girlfriend, Tiara Burnett, is also charged with perjury in connection to Dumbuya's murder.


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