GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man accused of helping to kidnap a teen girl who was then murdered now faces four federal criminal charges, including one for allegedly trying to hire someone to kill a witness against him.

Gerald Bennett, 63, of Detroit, was indicted Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to commit murder for hire resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death, kidnapping of a minor victim and solicitation to commit a crime of violence.

The charges stem from the murder of 16-year-old Mujey Dumbuya, an East Kentwood High School student. She vanished Jan. 24, 2018, on the way to school. Four days later, her body was found in Kalamazoo. She had been strangled. Quinn James was convicted of killing Dumbuya, who had been set to testify against him in a rape trial.

The indictment says that after Dumbuya accused James of rape, a middleman, Darren Eckford, connected James with Bennett for help killing the girl. Investigators say James gave Bennett, who was often homeless, $137.50 and a 1985 Chevy Caprice in return for his help.

Bennett was found not competent to stand trial on a state-level murder charge, after which federal prosecutors picked up the case. The indictment says interstate highways, communications and electronic money transfers were utilized in the case — that would put it under federal jurisdiction. Bennett was found competent to face federal charges in April.

The indictment document alleges that the solicitation charge was added after Bennett asked another inmate referred to as M.R. in November 2022 to kill Eckford. It says Bennett offered to pay $10,000 upfront and another $10,000 once Eckford was dead. The goal, the document says, was to prevent Eckford from testifying against Bennett.

“The defendant told M.R. that he would continue faking incompetency to give M.R. time to complete his sentence, get released from jail, and find and kill D.E.,” the indictment says.

The indictment also alleges that Bennett asked a another inmate, labeled J.B., for help to find someone to “make someone disappear,” calling Eckford a “rat” and saying he wanted to kill him.

“The defendant offered to kill a witness against J.B. as payment for J.B.’s information about D.E.’s location,” the indictment says in part.

Eckford previously pleaded guilty to a perjury charge in the Dumbuya case.