Long-time friend of Quinn James testifies against him during murder trial


    Long-time friend of Quinn James testifies against him during murder trial. (WWMT/Cyrus Raymond)

    Kent County prosecutors continued to build a case against Quinn James, the former Kentwood schools groundskeeper, in the murder trial of Mujey Dumbuya.

    Darren Eckford, James's longtime friend, testified against him after a deal was offered by the prosecutor.

    “He said I'm gonna get locked up,” Eckford testified. “He said he needed to take care of some business.”

    Eckford told the court about a call James made to ask for help regarding the rape case brought by Dumbuya.

    Eckford said he put James in touch with Gerald Bennett. Bennett also faced conspiracy to commit murder in the kidnapping and killing of Dumbuya after the 16-year-old was found dead in a wooded area in Kalamazoo.

    “We was (sic) on the phone conversating. He said, ‘it's done.’” Eckford said on the stand.

    Eckford was charged with lying to investigators after he was questioned in March 2018. The charge could carry up to life in prison if he were found guilty, but his testimony against James could mean no time behind bars.

    “I ain’t trying to get caught up in it,” Eckford said.

    A FBI cell phone records expert testified about cell phone location data from James and Bennett's phones.

    He said the record showed the two men were in the area where Dumbuya disappeared and where her body was found.

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