GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — While prosecutors fear intimidation of the only living witness in rape cases against Quinn James, his defense attorney accused prosecutors of playing a dangerous game.
James, 42, is accused of repeatedly raping Mujey Dumbuya in Kent County last year. The 16-year-old was found dead in Kalamazoo in January, four days after she was reported missing.
James is considered a person of interest in her death. He previously told 24 Hour News 8 in a jailhouse interview that he had nothing to do with it and said he never even met her.
In a Kent County courtroom Friday, his attorney accused prosecutors of lying to witnesses.
“The government has been telling witnesses … that they’ve got Mr. James on video in a rental car dumping the body in Kalamazoo,” James’ attorney Jonathan Schildgen told a judge.
If it’s true, he said, they should charge James with murder.
“If it’s not true, they’re lying to material witnesses in this case,” Schildgen said.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker told 24 Hour News 8 that prosecutors have not lied to witnesses.
The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said there is no video.
James is facing trial in June in Kent County on charges of repeatedly raping Dumbuya, who was a student at East Kentwood High School.
But prosecutors argued they don’t want to wait that long for the testimony of a key witness, and Kent County Circuit Judge George Quist agreed to allow that testimony within two weeks at a preliminary hearing in Kentwood.
“We have one dead victim, we have one live witness and we’re substantially concerned about his safety given what happened to the victim,” Becker told the judge.
That witness is Dumbuya’s boyfriend, 17-year-old Daquarius Bibbs of Saginaw, who told police he held her hands as James raped her twice in a car in Kent County.
In a Friday Facebook post, Bibbs wrote he held her hands only because he and Dumbuya were afraid of James.
James “told me to hold her hand so I held it, not hold her down,” the boyfriend wrote. “I wanted the rape to stop.”
“I did everything to help her,” he continued. “I couldn’t do too much,” he said, because he was living at his aunt’s house with James.
As soon as he reported the rape, he wrote, James “came after me.”
Bibbs has been arraigned as a material witness and released on a tether to track his movements.
Since his arrest last month, police believe James used another inmate’s name to send letters to his fiancee encouraging Bibbs to not show up for hearings and to not cooperate with the investigation.
Bibbs is the nephew of James’ fiancee, Tiara Burnett, who is charged with perjury in the investigation into Dumbuya’s homicide.
The prosecutor said James could face new charges.
“It could be witness intimidation, it could be additional CSCs (criminal sexual conduct),” Becker told the judge.
James’ attorney argued against the earlier testimony.
“If they’ve got new charges to bring, they can bring them. That happens every day,” Schildgen told the judge. “Don’t come in here, pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”
James, a former maintenance worker for Kentwood Public Schools, also is facing charges in an unrelated rape case in 2014.