Electronic data - from phone records to trail cameras - key to case against Quinn James

    Electronic data - from phone records to trail cameras - key to case against Quinn James.

    She was scheduled to testify against him; had accused him of rape. He was out on bond, and facing trial. When Mujey Dumbuya ended up dead, investigators began tracing Quinn Anthony James' activities.

    From content on James' cell phone to images captured on a trail camera in Kalamazoo, an outline of a plan began to emerge; and, investigators said, the evidence was leading them to something rare: the sexual assault survivor in a case headed to trial was likely killed by the defendant.

    "I used to tell them [sexual assault victims]: That's something you see on TV; that's really not going to happen," Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said Wednesday after announcing that James was charged with first-degree premeditated murder in Dumbuya's death. Becker also said this is the first time in his 23-year career that a defendant in a sexual assault case was charged with the murder of a sexual assault survivor.

    "This is very rare, an extremely rare event, so I'm not going to take the whole criminal justice system and say this is a failure," Becker said. "It's a tragedy and it's something we wish hadn't happened, but here we are."

    Working from the day Dumbuya, 16, was found strangled to death in a wooded area of Kalamazoo near North Prairie Avenue, investigators uncovered evidence linking James to the site where she was found, and to the last place she was seen, heading to her school bus stop about 6 a.m. Jan. 24, 2018.

    • Police were able to place James near Dumbuya's home and bus stop the night before she went missing. Although charged with rape and facing trial, James was out of jail on a $100,000 bond.
    • Witnesses revealed to police that James was seeking out someone to help him with a plan.
    • Forensic scientists identified some DNA on Dumbuya's clothing; it belonged to James.
    • Investigators learned that James was driving a black Acadia that had been out on loan from a dealership.
    • Video surveillance captured James with a man from Detroit, named Gerald Bennett, wiring money to Bennett's girlfriend.
    • And late that night on the day Dumbuya disappeared, trail cameras in Kalamazoo caught the image of a vehicle, a black Arcadia.

    Four days later, on Jan. 28, Dumbuya's body was found.

    Quinn immediately became a person of interest in the case. And in early February, Quinn was arrested on another charge of rape, in a different case. This time, his bond was set much higher: at $500,000. He was not released.

    On Wednesday morning, April 11, 2018, prosecutors announced the new charges. Accusing James of planning the girl's death, prosecutors said James is now charged with first-degree premeditated murder; felony murder with unlawful kidnapping and imprisonment; conspiracy to commit murder; and fourth time repeat offender. If convicted, James faces life in prison. On Wednesday afternoon, he was arraigned on the charges.

    The man from Detroit, Gerald Bennett, 58, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

    For continuing coverage, stay tuned to Newschannel 3 and return to WWMT.com.

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