GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Mujey Dumbuya’s aunt showed two photos of her 16-year-old niece in court Monday: one of the East Kentwood High School student alive and happy and the other of her in her casket, wearing the dress she had planned to wear to prom.
The man convicted of killing Dumbuya, Quinn James, was then sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Authorities say James raped Dumbuya in 2017 when she was 15 and then wanted to get rid of her before she could testify against him at trial. She went missing Jan. 24, 2018, in Grand Rapids and her body was found four days later along a trail in Kalamazoo. She had been strangled.
“You destroyed her and then you turned around and you take her from me,” Dumbuya’s mother Fatima Corneh told James in a Grand Rapids courtroom Monday.
“He laid like a serpent, waiting for his prey,” Dumbuya’s aunt Jainya Sannoh said. “He has no idea what he has done to this family.”
As Dumbuya’s family spoke, James stood motionless, watching. But when given the chance to speak, he began to weep as he asserted his innocence.
“It wasn’t me,” he said. “I didn’t do that.”
Though Dumbuya’s body was doused with bleach, forensic investigators still managed to find James’ DNA on her clothes. Her blood was discovered in a car he had rented; a car also caught on camera near where her body was found on the day she went missing.
James, 43, was previously convicted of raping Dumbuya and sentenced to between 20 and 30 years in prison.
He is expected to appeal his conviction for first-degree murder.