Suspect will stand trial in slain teen’s rape

Kent County

KENTWOOD (WOOD) — A former Kentwood Public Schools groundskeeper has been ordered to stand trial in the rape case involving a 16-year-old East Kentwood High School student who was murdered in January.

Mujey Dumbuya was supposed to appear at Quinn James’ preliminary hearing Wednesday, but her body was found in Kalamazoo shortly after James learned she was going to testify. She had been strangled. James hasn’t been charged in connection to her death, but is considered a person of interest.

At the preliminary hearing, the prosecution presented the recorded police interview with James, jail phone calls he made to his mother and the testimony of the only other surviving witness in the rape case: 17-year-old Daquarius Bibbs, who was living with James and his aunt, who is James’ girlfriend.

He testified James assaulted Dumbuya four times last summer. He said she cried during the first assault as he held her hand.

Bibbs said he didn’t tell James to stop because he was scared of James, adding James had choked him before.

Bibbs testified that James tried to entice Dumbuya, then 15, into having sex with him, promising to change her grades if she did. Though James worked at Dumbuya’s school, the district says that’s not how they met.

After the fourth assault, Bibbs testified, he called police.

The defense tried to poke holes in Bibbs’ testimony, questioning why he didn’t call 911 sooner.

“Because she wasn’t ready. She’s wasn’t ready to tell. She ain’t want to,” Bibbs replied. 

But probably the most damning evidence was what James said to his mother after he was arrested:

“My kids are going to grow up without me,” he told her in a phone call from jail.

“I ruined my life,” he added.

James is arguing the sex was consensual. In a February interview with 24 Hour News 8 from the Kent County jail, he also said he never even met Dumbuya.

His bond was set at $250,000. He’s also preparing to stand trial for an unrelated 2014 rape case.

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

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